Friday, July 28, 2006

A Father's heart...

It was an overcast day, not really cold, but drizzling. I was about 7 or 8 years old, and I had gone fishing for "Shad" with my Dad on Margate Pier (on the Kwa-Zulu Natal south coast). I remember the frenetic activity, huge, burly men, in oilskins and raincoats. The most wonderful smell of bait sardines still lingers in my nostrils. I remember feeling really small, and tiny amongst these 'giants'. My Dad told me to 'bait up" under the baiting tables, because I couldn't reach. Hands shaking excitedly I slit the sardine down the middle, placed the hook and trace down the spine, and bound it in cotton thread. I was ready!

As I stood up, I realised that my little bamboo fishing rod was really bent, with the weight of the bait and the lead 'sinker'. Never mind, I'd still be able to catch a huge Shad! My Dad just smiled at me, and led me to the front 'kiddies' section of the pier. I looked at my Dad as he waited patiently for me, and then with a mighty, calculated heave I cast my 'load' out to sea. As the line became taut I peered over the side to see my line hanging directly below me, in the water about 2m out from the rocks below.

"Aw no! I'll never catch anything there! I better cast again!"
"No, don't", replied my Dad, "You'll catch something - just be patient."
"Okay" I mumbled, not really convinced.

I saw my Dad weave his way through the fishermen, and the rods, which looked like reeds waving in the wind. Time dragged on..and on...and on. I peered over the side from time to time. Not even a bite! I often thought about reeling in, re-baiting, and casting again, but I trusted my Dad.

Suddenly, the tip of my rod 'dived' down towards the sea. A bite! A big one!

"Dad!" I screamed.
"Dad!" I was besides myself with excitement, shouting, jumping up and down!

I looked frantically from side to side for my Dad, and also noticed (with pride) how fisherman were looking at me, as I battled this monster Shad from the deep. I wound in the wriggling fish, and as I started to panic about how I was going to lift it over the side, a pair of strong hands covered mine, and hauled the beautiful green and silver fish over the rails.

"Dad!""Dad!" I screamed, and laughed, and wanted to cry.

I 'wrestled' my fingers into the gills (with a great deal of effort) and carried my catch and my rod back to the baiting tables. I was so proud! My cheeks were cramping from the smiling! I kept looking at my Dad, and beaming. He had a huge grin on his face.

"Well done", "It's massive!", "It's the biggest one today!" - my Dad kept saying. I thought my heart would burst with pride, and love for my Dad.
It is a very special memory...

Shortly after my Dad's funeral, I was talking to my mother, and I reminisced about that special day. My mother laughed! "Oh yes! I forgot about that! Your Dad caught a big Shad, and he snuck down under the pier. He grabbed your line and re-hooked the fish on to your line."

At first I was shocked, then disappointed, and then angry! It was a lie! I had been tricked!

A while after that I saw it from a different perspective. I saw things through my father's eyes, and I learned some lessons about my Heavenly Father:

  • My Heavenly Father protects me, shields me, and shelters me from my worst enemy - myself.
  • No matter what 'tools', abilities, and talents I have, my Father stands over me - guiding and encouraging me against all odds.
  • My Father is doing things behind the scenes, that I am not aware of. To make things fulfil His will...and to give pleasure to His child, for His Glory.
  • The lack of patience in stressful times, and against logic, can bring about doubt, which in turn could lead to making poor decisions, and hurtful consequences.
  • Trust in God the Father, He always has our best interests at heart. He is an encourager, a 'grower', and a father. He knows what's best, and he see the big picture.
  • My Father in Heaven doesn't reveal all to me at once. He is Truth. His promises are Yes! and Amen! He wants me trust in Him!

So was I deceived? Was one of my fondest childhood memories broken and stained? was enriched by the fact that a father tried to save his son from embarrassment, humiliation, frustration, and defeat. I learned that a fathers love for his son can be unconditional, and that he would endanger himself to provide a moment joy and pride for his son. I learned that my fathers heart on that day...was the Father's heart!

Thanks Dad...


Blogger Doreen Hardie said...

Gabe and Miki-D you have been blessed to have been given such a loving Dad.
He has brought you up in 'The Father's love'. Even at your young ages you know the Lord, you know 'The Father's heart'.

As you grow up;
Honour and obey your Dad.
Return his love,
Laugh with him,
Share your life with him.
For Dads'are precious...

Justin and Barbarah, may the Lord continue to bless you as you raise your two beautiful children in the love of Jesus.

7:55 pm  

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