In most families, the mother –not the father – is the spiritual driver. Sorry guys, but the research supports me. Studies identify women as the “spiritually stronger” sex – not just in church attendance, but in spiritual leadership within the family.
I’m not saying this is the way it’s supposed to be. It’s just the way it is. And such was the case in my own family growing up.
My mom got us out of bed and dragged us to church on Sunday morning.
My dad stayed home, smoked cigarettes and read the paper. (It was the 70’s after all.)
I can still remember peeling off the Surgeon General’s warnings from the bright green pack of Kool cigarettes. I would leave the warning in conspicuous places – like by my father’s “Archie Bunker” chair – in hopes that he would see the light while the rest of us prayed for him on Sunday mornings. My prayers went something like this.
Dear God, Help Dad to stop smoking. Save his soul too. I really like being his “Squirt” and I want him to be in heaven with us.
Yet week after week, he would sit in his chair, read his paper, and dismiss – and even mock – my mother’s faith.
But my mother never gave up.
Sometimes, the tension was so thick in our house that you could cut it with a butcher knife. Other times, we looked – and acted – like the happiest nuclear family on the block. And we truly were. It’s just that my mom was in love with Jesus, and sometimes I wished that He wouldn’t come between my parents – and that she wouldn’t act like such a Jesus Freak. It really made Dad mad.
But she kept praying.
God first answered her prayers about cigarettes. My dad stopped smoking over 30 years ago. And while He won his battle with nicotine, he fought another battle with cancer.
That’s when God first got his attention.
But some men (like some of us!) are very stubborn. You know the type. It was through another awful disease that God really got his attention. But God didn’t stop there. He took my father from the wheelchair to the walker. From the walker to the cane. From the cane to his feet.
Today, at age 82, my father publically proclaims his faith in Jesus Christ. You can hear his story and witness his baptism here.
But the greatest aspect of his story isn’t his physical healing. It’s the spiritual transformation of a man. A praying wife. And a relentless God.
To those of you who don’t think that miracles happen today, think again.
To those of you who have stopped praying for your husband, don’t ever stop. God never gives up.
Isn’t Father’s Day a great day to keep the faith?
[This blog was originally posted on November 18, 2012 - shortly after my father's baptism.]