He was a very quiet man. Some days I could count less than a dozen words he would speak all day. But, when he did say something, he was to the point, honest, and no frills.
He was a hard man to understand because of this quietness. I had the sense it was because of the times he grew up. He was born in 1918, before the great depression. His parents came from upstate New York, the mountains of the Adirondacks. They were hardworking people, and very poor. He had 12 other sister’s and brother’s. His father was a railroad worker, his mother stayed home, but it was apparent she must have been busy all the time trying to raise 13 kids. I took all this into account as I grew up and watched my dad. I realized this had made him who he was, I loved him more for it.
I do have several memories of things dad did for me that showed me how much he cared for me. These things were from his heart, and done without any words spoken. There wasn’t really any need for them.
One of these occasions was when I turned 12. I had spent several years dreaming and wishing for a horse. I drew them, read books about them, spoke about them to anyone who would listen. But, I also knew how poor we were. I didn’t believe I’d ever have a horse of my own. It was just a wild dream, I thought.
Then on a certain day in August, my parents told me they were taking a ride to a farm about 10 miles from our house to see something, and I’d need to come along. I didn’t argue; it was a treat in those days to get to go for a ride anywhere.
When we got there, a man took us inside the barn to a stall at the far end. Inside was a pure black beautiful horse, a mare. Dad asked me if I liked her. I looked up at him, and just shook my head in amazement. I couldn’t say anything, the words seemed to be stuck in my throat.
The man brought her out, and let me pet her. My heart almost stopped.
Dad and the man spoke to each other for what seemed a long time. Then the farmer saddled the horse, and showed my father how to get on her.
I knew my father had never ridden a horse before. But, now he was on her, and the man was showing him how to hold the reins, and direct her, and guide her.
He told my mother to take the car, and ride alongside of him as he rode her home. For the next several hours, my father rode a horse he did not know down a main road with us in the car creeping along beside him. Many cars passed us, some were very rude, but dad held the reins steady, and talked to the mare the whole way. He looked wonderful on her.
As a kid I didn’t realize the significance of how dangerous, and how much courage it took for my father to do this, but now as an adult and someone who has raised and trained horses myself, I realize what it took for him to do this. It was a tremendous act of his love for me to get on, and ride this horse over 10 miles along a busy highway to our house, because it was the only way he could get her home for me. I could never doubt the love my father had for me; this was love unspoken; and priceless.
As these memories come back to me, it also gives me a glimpse of the love of God for us. His love is far greater than any earthly father. If I ever am tempted to doubt the love of God, all I have to do is look around; and see the wonder and beauty all around me. The blue of the sky, a flower in bloom, a bird’s cheerful song, a babies laugh. God’s love for us is not unspoken; but it does not always come in the form of words. It is in all we see, hear, and touch. A surprise gift from someone, the many things we take for granted.
With the abundance of evidences of God’s love; though it may seem unspoken, if we open our eyes, and ears we can clearly hear His voice assuring us of His care.
As assurance grows, faith grows also. Faith in His love, provision, and his promises. Prayer becomes an interaction of dialogue born out of relationship. We talk to him truly as a Father, knowing He hears, and listens to us. His word is His love letter to us, and His Son, the Word made flesh.
Expectation of answers to prayer become normal. The answer may be yes, no, or not yet, but we will expect a response, because we know each other. Solid peace, and faith is grounded in our hearts as we continue to put our whole weight and trust in Him. God is our Father, and if we have ears to hear, and eyes to see, we learn to know him as what he describes Himself to be; love.