Happy Birthday Dad!

February 11, 2009
7:33 am

Today is my dad’s 67th birthday. It’s a real privilege to have a dad like I do. I was just recounting with my brother-in-law over a cup of coffee how Dad did it right. He’s still doing it right. I see my son, Billy, growing up so fast. He turned 7 last week. As I reflect on my relationship as a son to my father, I want to do it right too. What is doing it right? Well most of all, it is being a humble man. A humble man according to the Scriptures does justly, loves mercy and walks humbly with God. (from Micah 6:8) Dad was hard on me – always instructing, always demanding greater maturity in thought and action, and always pushing me to be my best. He was about the business of teaching me to do justly. But he wasn’t too intense. He was mercifully demanding. He was a load of fun too. He enjoyed being with me and was proud of me and I knew it. Is there any greater gift a father can give his child than a sense that he delights in him? The Bible has an amazing Proverb that says, “for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:12 ESVS) I think Dad’s success as a parent stemmed from the fact that he walked humbly with God. He was prayerful, openly dependent upon God for wisdom in all things, especially parenting. I observed this more when I moved on to college and had a view from the outside in as Dad navigated the difficult years of raising two teen daughters. It was tenuous at times, but he did it with a deep dependence and confidence in God. My sisters would agree with me that he did it well. This gave me a model with which to approach my 2-year-old daughter, Maria. I’m grateful for his example there as well. Dad is about to retire after 41 years in his career as a missionary with Mission Aviation Fellowship. He has done that well too and I am deeply proud of him and my mom as they wrap things up and celebrate God’s faithfulness through all those years, and get small glimpses of the fruit that has yielded as a result of their life work. Years ago when I was approaching marriage, I watched Dad go through a trial in his job. He did justly, loved mercy and walked humbly with God through it all, and remained at MAF to continue to love the Lord by loving His people. This trial eventually opened the door to beginning a Member Care department, moving he and my mom into the roles from which they will retire in a few months. I wrote this poem for him 13 years ago, weeping uncontrollably through the last half as I realized the deep truths of what I wrote there. So, happy birthday Dad! I love you! Here’s to a big year of change and some sweet times together as father and son. Cheers!

To Dad
Tonight I felt your pain
Tonight I shed some tears
As I caught a glimpse of the broken heart
Of a man who had served for years
A dedication to be genuine
A passion for lost souls
A life-long commitment to excellence
Being faithful to fulfill your roles
Yet approaching thirty years of service
You have encountered a slammed door
I sometimes wonder if your ears still ring
Have you answered the question, “What for?”
Or have you changed the question to one more useful
As only time will allow
To look to the future with a glimmer of hope
And ask the question, “What now?”
But the years behind you did not go wasted
Is it evidence you demand?
Then look at the life of the one who writes you
Your boy became a man
And now I walk the road to marriage
For that I am very glad
Yet I owe a lot of the man I am
To the man that I call, “Dad.”
The change from boy to man didn’t just happen
It was not coincidence
I look at your hand and your thumb is up
A symbol of confidence
So as I seek to make a difference in this world
To find God in the circumstances of life
As I proceed to raise a family
And as I love and honor my wife
I do so because I had a role model who did so
The greatest blessing God could give
That position can never be taken away, Dad
For as long as we both shall live.

Written to Dad, inspired by the film, “Mr. Holland’s Opus”, January 27, 1996.

Bill Born


About bornfun

I'm married with 4 kids, an orange farmer, a pastor and worship leader at Trinity Church. I love God and I love people. I seek to be wholly devoted to the glory of God, living all of my life as worship to Him.
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