November 9, 2007

The Best Dad Ever

I was at a Bible study last night in which we discussed Romans 8:28-30, a passage that inevitably sparks conversation about the doctrine of election or predestination. If you take a look at that passage and other related passages (Romans 11:2, Ephesians 1:3, Galatians 1:15, Romans 8:6-8, etc.), there is a very strong case for the idea that we cannot choose God, and that God must choose us and bring us out of darkness into his light.

The argument says that we, being of the flesh, cannot choose God. That God must choose us and save us from our selves, that we cannot resist his call because it is perfect, and that only some are thus called. Jesus' work on the cross was for the elect, so that it might be 100% successful in what it intended. If you want a better summary of the argument, read this. The end result is that God chooses some to be saved and allows the rest to receive their just damnation in order to display the riches of his glory to the objects of his mercy (Romans 9:14-24).

This whole thing reminded me a lot of my friend Cal, who is an amazing guy. I could go on for quite some time about just how wonderful he is in all different ways, but I am specifically reminded now of how great a father he is. The story he told me about his hiking trip with his two boys is one of the best models of fatherhood I have ever heard.

A few years ago, Cal took his two sons Jack and Brady on a hiking trip through a section of the Appalachian mountains. They were a little young for that kind of adventure, but he had laid out specific rules for them to follow in order to keep them safe in the rocky terrain. "Stick close to me, don't run off on your own, and don't fight with each other," he had warned. "If you boys stick with me, you'll be safe."

Things went very well for the first part of the trip. The boys, of course, ran off a few times and fought once in a while, but after a few scraped knees and rocky falls they began to settle in and stick with their dad. The view they got to see when they stopped for lunch was beautiful enough to calm even the wildest boys, and they sat and appreciated it for some time.

After lunch, Jack and Brady began to get a little restless. Brady had been teasing Jack the whole time about his short legs and how he'd never be able to reach the top, and Jack had begun to have enough. When dad was off in the brush relieving himself, the two ran off and began to fight. The scuffle would have ended with just a few bruises if they hadn't been too preoccupied to notice the sharp drop that led off behind the hill they were fighting on. Before they knew it, Brady had pushed Jack too hard down a slope causing them both to lose their balance and tumble off the side.

Being strong boys filled with adrenaline, they had both been able to get a grip on some of the rock and brush that stuck out from the side of the overhang, but the soft dirt was giving way fast to the weight of them both. They called out to Cal who came racing over to find his boys both in real danger of falling 150 feet back down the side of the mountain they'd just spent the morning climbing. Cal, being a strong, loving father, reached down and grabbed Brady's wrist, gently and swiftly pulling him up to safety. Then, he reached back down, wrapped his fingers tightly around Jack's arm, pulled him up and away from the side of the overhang, and then released his grip, watching as Jack fell away to his death.

Brady, terrified and confused, looked at Cal with wild eyes of disbelief. "What happened to Jack, Dad? What happened??" Cal looked lovingly at his son and said, "I told you both the way to stay safe was to stick with me and to not fight, son. You disobeyed me and found yourselves in the exact situation that I warned you of. You both deserved to fall. But in my great love and mercy, I chose you to save, while I chose to let Jack fall, to demonstrate my great justice."

What an amazing father.

1 comment:

Alex Paik said...

Someone call Childline.