Blessings of a Father

My earliest memories are being carried off to bed on his back. He would sit on the edge of the bed, reading from a children’s Bible. It was my favorite time of the day, and I could usually talk him into “just one more story” before I drifted off to sleep.

There was baseball practice in the afternoon and little league games on Saturdays. He would pick me up from school in his truck and we would stop by the store for a candy bar on the way (because he said I needed the, “energy for the game!”). He always told me I was doing great . . . but was also quick to point out areas for improvement if I would “work a little harder!” 

Through the junior high and high school years, he always went out of his way not to embarrass me in front of friends. He would say, “You don’t want to be seen with the ‘old man’ do you?” Then there was college. He swelled with pride as I was given leadership responsibilities at Samford University and was thrilled when the first semester grade report came. He would drop a note or leave a voice message that ended, “study hard,” or, “keep giving your best!” 

When he went to surgery that day, we thought it would be routine. It never occurred to me that we might never have those laughs, hugs, or long discussions about scripture again. I could not have believed that the one person on this earth who brought out the best in me would be gone. But he was. On April 19, 1990, after three long years of agonizing sickness, my dad stepped into Heaven.

Now, years later, I still miss him but there are so many reasons to rejoice. It’s easy to see the many ways God used this catastrophic event to profoundly affect me. Among those things for which I have come to be thankful, is . . .

A dad who encouraged me when I was down.
A Father who lifts me above trials on wings as eagles. (Isaiah 40:31)

A dad who forgave me, even when I did not deserve to be forgiven.
A Father whose grace and forgiveness knows no bounds. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

A dad who understood my hurts when no one else could.
A Father who heals all my pain. (Psalm 147:3)

A dad who loved me . . . even when I was unlovable.
A Father whose love is limitless. (Romans 8:37-39)

A dad who taught his son by example.
A Father who sent His Son to be the example. (Luke 9:23)

So, I am grateful to God to have been doubly blessed. I have been encouraged, forgiven, understood, loved, and taught by two fathers—A temporary earthly father who introduced me to my Heavenly Father, who is my ultimate peace and provides sustaining joy for all of eternity.

In the men and women who impact children and families every day through the ministry of ABCH, I see the reflection of God, our Heavenly Father, and the love of His Son Jesus Christ being poured out on many, many lives. This labor on earth is temporary, but these Holy Spirit-inspired investments in others is eternal.   

Scottish hymn writer Walter Chalmers Smith wrote:

To all, life Thou givest, to both great and small;

In all life Thou livest, the true life of all.

We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,

And wither and perish—but naught changeth Thee!


This staff devotional was written by Dr. Chip Colee, ABCH Vice President for Administration.