Learning From A Father & His Son

Keith KettenringChristian Living, The Uncommon Journey

There are some iconic burger places in Southern California like In-N-Out and Tommy’s. But neither of them serve breakfast. So, I found myself at Burger King. I wanted a convenient, fast and quiet breakfast place. That’s what I found.

The place was almost empty except for what looked like a father and son sitting at one booth. I sat two booths away and began reading my book as I ate my bacon and egg croissant and drank my diet Coke (a bad habit I picked up in So Cal).

After a little while the dad got up and helped his son get out of the booth. The son had difficulty standing, but the father patiently supported him until he was able to stand upright.

Then the father carefully helped his son with his jacket. It was a wrestling match of sorts, the son weirdly uncooperative and the father tenderly persistent. I wondered why the boy was so obstinate yet was impressed by the kindness of the father.

In a matter of a couple seconds, I realized that the son was a “special needs” kid, physically and mentally impaired. My heart went out to both of them.

What impressed me the most was the father’s affectionate devotion to his son. Since the son was incapable of caring for himself, the father gave himself to the detailed tasks necessary for the good of the boy. It moved me to tears. On display was the tender love of the father for his extremely dependent son.

As I watched them interact, I was struck by the reality that Christians are like the son and God is like the Father.

Though I usually think of myself as capable, strong, and self-sufficient (to my discredit), I was reminded on this day that in reality, I am spiritually disabled, broken, dependent, impaired, and in desperate need of a loving, faithful, merciful Father.

Apart from Him, I can do nothing; I am nothing.

In Him, I am made strong.

In my brokenness, He is healing.

In my disability, He is ability.

I find my way through life only as He provides what is needed.

Though this happened over 15 years ago, I’ve never forgotten the experience. I hope I never do.

The reality, however, is that I still think of myself as capable, strong and self-sufficient. My ego is my downfall.

Make me a child, Lord; guileless, simple, innocent, curious though often unruly and uncooperative. Heal my many spiritual infirmities. Instill me with your tender mercies and love to the glory of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.