By Holly Carothers
A few days before Easter, my youngest daughter and I watched a newly-animated movie version of a classic book, Pilgrim’s Progress. If you aren’t familiar with the book, there’s a reason it’s one of the most published books in history.
It tells the story of Christian’s uphill journey from his home in the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. Along the way, Christian is aided by a friend named Faithful who immediately reminded me of my father.
During all my childhood years at home, I remember my father sitting at the breakfast table, eating cereal and reading his Bible before heading off to a long day at work. My father was a man of few words so he didn’t discuss what he was reading during his quiet time, but his four children knew how important the Word of God was to him as he faithfully read it each morning. We also watched him faithfully serve our church family as a deacon and elder all his adult life.
During the story of Pilgrim’s Progress, the Faithful friend is martyred for his faith. At this point in the movie, my daughter looked up at me and asked, “Mommy, are you crying?” to which I replied, “just a little.”
Especially around Father’s Day, I miss the kind and wise counsel I had available in my father who knew the Word and showed his children what loving the Lord with all your mind looks like.
After Faithful is martyred, Christian’s journey in Pilgrim’s Progress is supported by a new friend named Hopeful. Since watching the movie, I’ve fondly recalled my father reflecting this quality of hopefulness.
My dad, who spent his entire career as an engineer on the Space Coast of Florida, had a keen interest in space. On multiple occasions during my life, I heard my dad say he hoped when he was in heaven the Lord would allow him to explore the universe. Given that eternity is a very long time, I do wonder if my Dad, who moved to heaven in February 2010, is still exploring the universe. I also wonder what his morning routine is like now that he has the knowledge of God’s glory without a veil.
In case you were wondering how the movie ends, Christian does reach the Celestial City. When he was reunited with his friends Faithful and Hopeful, I cried more than “just a little” thinking of the reunion my father and Christian family have already experienced and the anticipated reunion we await in the place Christ promised to prepare for us. I am very grateful to my dad for showing me day after day where he put his hope and trust.
This Fathers’ Day, let’s praise our Father God – our true faithful Father. Tell your dad what he means to you while you can. If you are a father, consider what your family will remember about you. Will they have peace because they know where you place your trust? Will they have the blessing of remembering you as faithful or hopeful?
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ." –2 Corinthians 4:6