Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said, “Wait.”
“Wait? you say wait?” my indignant reply.
“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I’m claiming your Word.
“My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I’m needing a ‘yes’, a go-ahead sign,
Or even a ‘no’ to which I can resign.
“You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:
I’m weary of asking! I need a reply.”
Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, “Wait.”
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting for what?”
He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
and He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.
“I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You’d have what you want, but you wouldn’t know Me.
You’d not know the depth of my love for each saint.
You’d not know the power that I give to the faint.
“You’d not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there.
You’d not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.
“You’d never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
“The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that’s beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.
“You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I’m doing in you.
“So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait.”
© 1980 Russell Kelfer
So, um, Father’s Day.
Yeah. That means we have to call him. And say something. This will be awkward.
For some of us that’s the equivalent of a superhuman feat. Not because we don’t want to. But often, because we don’t know what to say.
‘Hey Dad. Did you see the game?’
‘Hi Dad, how’s Mom?’
‘Oh work’s fine. Same old, same old. Nope, nothing new. Yup, kids are good. Nobody’s sick. Ok, yeah, good talking to you too.’
Or, we fall into the typical routines. For the sons, that means sitting on the couch, turning on the game, and grunting at each other every other inning, interposed with large doses of chips and salsa. And a poorly concealed belch or five. For the daughters, it means a quick hug and asking where mom is.
It’s been that way for generations. Since Adam & Eve. Which really should make us jealous of Adam & Eve because neither of them ever had to search through the card aisle for the appropriate message conveying emotions that are bottled up 364 days out of the year. Which also begs the thought. You think your conversation is difficult? Imagine the chat Adam & Cain had on Father’s Day –
‘Hi Dad, how are things?’
‘Rough year, son. Sinned more. Your mother’s changed a lot since we were kicked out of Eden. Sheesh, I’ve changed a lot too. Tomatoes aren’t growing like they used to. Had to put the pet lion down when he tried to eat the sheep last month. And then somebody killed Abel. What’s up with you?’
‘Oh. Um. Happy Father’s Day?’
Awkward conversations come with the territory, right? We never know what to say. And then your spouse says ‘Hug him!’ WHAT!?
Blame it on Hallmark all you want, but Dad deserves it…
No, really. And stop staring at the computer screen thinking about why he doesn’t.
Call him. If he doesn’t answer, call him again. And when he does pick up? Say it. ‘I love you, Dad’. You may think that saying it will result in the Apocalypse, but it doesn’t. Go ahead. Look it up. We’ll wait.
But don’t make Dad wait. Tell him you love him. Note, I didn’t say you should tell him you like him. It’s okay if you don’t sometimes. He gets it. He didn’t like you sometimes too. But he never stopped loving you. Even if he didn’t say it much.
And maybe, just maybe, when you say it, you might hear it back. But, even if you don’t, it’s okay. You still love him. And you said it.
And, if Dad’s not around anymore, and you can’t say it like you used to, that’s okay too. Go pay him a visit. Sure, he’s really not there. It’s just a marker. But your memories are probably still there, or will be when you get there. So say it. Cry some. Say it again. Cry some more. And then repeat again next year.
Just say it.
Because he loves you too.