Sunday, September 21, 2014

We're winnin', Dad!

The Word for today:
Galatians 3:19-4:7
(Note: This article was first published on this date in 2011.)
mark this: Galatians 4:6
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"
I was fired from my job yesterday.
I'd used a little too much force, I was told. When I see an obstacle, my tendency is to knock it down. But that's messy. What I should have done was paint it a different color and say it wasn't there anymore. That's not messy.
But I digress.
So, it's lucky for me that I've got this Bible blog. Without it, I wouldn't know what to do with myself today. I mean, I'm home alone and I can hear the clocks tick.
But the best thing about having this blog to write today is that it brought me to the verse that says we can call out "Abba, Father."
So that's what I did! I told him that nothing got to me until early this morning when I was taking down all the pictures that I'd taped to the wall in my office. Among them was a picture of our son Frankie--now our tall, handsome, all-state running star and all-around inspiration--when he was only five years old, on the day of his first race. I have never forgetten what he told me that day.
And so as I packed the picture away, I made his long-ago remark my prayer: I looked straight up to my Father, just like Frankie had looked up to me that day, and I told Him--
"We're winnin', Dad!"
…Frankie was five years old when we entered him in his first race. It was the "Mr. Ed's 1-mile Fun Run" in Middleport, N.Y.  Most of the runners in the Fun Run were kids, along with some Moms and Dads. But none of them were as little as Frankie. He got right up on the starting line and crouched over like a sprinter about to come out of the starting blocks. It was Super Bowl Sunday, late in January, so he wore mittens and a hat. Taking it all in, he saw that most of the kids wore no gloves, so he took his off and handed them to me. Then the starter fired his pistol and the race had begun. Immediately, we were engulfed by the crowd of runners. In a minute, we were behind almost all. But Frankie never looked around at any of them as they passed us. His eyes were straight ahead of him the entire race, as he strained with purpose and effort.
It took a long time to run that mile. I ran three steps directly behind. He garnered a lot of notice along the way because of his size and determination. It was an out-and-back course; the runners turned at the midpoint and headed back towards us. As they approached, each of them offered words of encouragement. Some proffered a hand, thinking Frankie would reciprocate with a 'high-five,' but he never even noticed. His eyes were on the prize.
After the turnaround, we ran into the wind. Now it was cold. "Do you want your mittens, Frankie?" A slight, nearly imperceptible flick of his head meant 'No.'
Everyone was ahead of us now. I went a step in front of Frankie and a step to the side to shield him from the wind. When a particularly sharp gust turned my head his way, Frankie looked up to offer me some encouragement: "We're winnin', Dad," he called out, as he flipped that easy smile.
Just a couple years before that day, I'd found out about Jesus Christ and how he--a man after his Father's heart--set his face like flint (1) to carry my sin up a steep hill just outside the walls of Jerusalem. There, suspended between heaven and earth, he was a man with no direction home--rejected by his own here on earth; unfit for heaven when he became sin for us (2). For a moment he could not see his Father, because this was a course he had to finish alone. Then, with his last breath, he cried out, "Teleo!" And he bowed his head and gave up his spirit (3).
Before I knew him, teleo only meant it is finished; it's over. My natural eyes had seen just a forlorn figure, forsaken by man and God, defeated by empire and religion and spite.
But the day came when my new, blood-tipped ear (4) heard in that word the most astonishing faith that eternity will ever know. Now "It is finished" means "The debt is paid in full! We won, Dad!"
So some day, in Jesus' honor, in a dark hour when it makes no earthly sense to say so, make this your prayer:
Looking straight up to the Father you can't see, tell him, "We're winnin', Dad!"
(1) Isaiah 50:7; (2) 2 Corinthians 5:21; (3) John 19:30; (4) see Exodus 29:20


  1. Franklyn: When I read these words...."What I should have done was paint it a different color and say it wasn't there anymore." I could not stop laughing because it immediately reminded me of a cartoon, the picture of which I could not get out of my mind. The cartoon is the Roadrunner & Wiley Coyote. And the clip I am referring to finds the Roadrunner in front of a solid brick wall that the Roadrunner paints over with a picture of the road turning and going thru a tunnel into blackness. Of course the coyote, unaware, comes speeding along and takes the turn and the tunnel that has been painted on the brick wall and the chase comes to an abrupt end. In your story you were told it is not as "messy" to take the fake road and fake tunnel like the coyote. But real life can be very "messy" when happily going down the road trying to follow fake roads and fake tunnels.

  2. I've seen that clip! Some of those cartoons were imagination run amok.