A Father’s Love: Defender and Servant

23 Jun

This blog was first a featured column at Your Tewksbury Today on Father’s Day.

A Father's Love, Defender and ServantAs I sit here waiting on news from my father after a three-month check-up, CAT scan, and blood work were performed to let us know if the beast that is cancer is keeping its nasty little talons out of his body, I watch another father patiently brushing his son’s limbs, back, and extremities. He follows it up with joint compressions and rolls the yoga ball onto our youngest son’s back.

I am sandwiched in life by two fathers:

  • One still on guard against a disease that has launched pathological assault weapons at his body multiple times in different places over the span of about 35 years
  • One who helps with the five-times-a-day occupational therapy at home for a child with sensory integration issues, anxiety, and ADHD

My father has never backed down in the face of a nonstop onslaught on his organs, muscle, and tissue. He knows prayer (in the name of Jesus) is a powerful weapon.

My husband will never stop serving my son—not until he sees a settled, healthier version of him.

I am struck by the fact that my Father in heaven sent Jesus to do both of these things for us:

To say “no” to death and disease:

Matthew 8:1-3, ESV, Apostle Matthew speaking of Jesus

When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will;
be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

To serve us in our very broken places: 

Matthew 20:25-28, ESV, Jesus speaking to the disciples

But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

I’ve watched my father break, burn, and weaken over several decades of my childhood and adult life. And I’ve seen prayers raise him up. I’ve been present when prayer warriors from my childhood church and community raged holy war against the plague of cancer cells on his body, and I’ve witnessed him rally, stronger than ever, facing down a very real enemy and threat to his very existence. Through prayer and a community of believers, he said “no” to cancer. He got in its face and breathed Jesus life and truth, knowing that death and destruction cower when the name of Jesus is spoken.

I realize this is not everyone’s result. I’m speaking from my own story, the one where God, for whatever reason, allowed my father to keep the battle going and gave him footing to stay one step ahead—not always fully removing the threat but holding his hand right through the battle.

Every time.

Jesus healed my son from his multiple, frightening food allergies, and yet, there was another thief creeping into his life to steal peace, calm, and functioning. In his own way, my husband wages war against that destroyer, saying “no, you may not cross here!” and at the same time, he gently tends to Little Man, tangibly loving him with Jesus love—the kind that isn’t afraid to touch the diseased, the broken, the hurting, the poor, the sinner. As he rolls the yoga ball over him or brushes his arms, he is, in essence, saying: “I am meeting you in your broken place until the cracks in your jar are fired back up again smooth and functional in the kiln of God’s love

—no matter how long it takes.

Some folks may not have had fathers who offered them this. It may be hard to understand or grasp that our Father in heaven sent Jesus to take a stand (and win) against disease and death but also to serve us right where we are—whatever less-than-optimal condition we find ourselves in:

  • Repetitive sin
  • Hopelessness and despair
  • Addiction
  • Relationship crisis
  • Grief
  • Loss
  • Anger
  • Bitterness
  • Wounds
  • Unforgiveness
  • Pride
  • Lust
  • Greed
  • Discontent
  • Disease
  • Chronic Illness

Our Father in heaven loved us so much to send Jesus to fight for us. To bend down to our level and heal us, not just of infirmity, but to also set us free from sin and eternal separation from Himself.

He sent Jesus to remind us that He sees us. Jesus didn’t just walk on by when the woman grabbed his garment. He inquired after her.

Luke 8:43-48, ESV, Luke the Physician narrating

And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone.

She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased.

And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!”

But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.”

And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed.

And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

In that one instance, He both cancelled infirmity and served her His peace.

You see, He comes with authority to stop the assaults on us, but He also gently cradles us in our shameful, sad, or fractured places and shows us how to “Go in peace.” We simply must trust His good will toward us and grab His hand (or cloak).

Let Him put you onto His strong shoulders, tossing you joyfully into the air with His love.

He always catches. He’ll never drop you.

He will reach into your life, if you ask Him to, and I promise you that you will never be the same!

Can you trust His forever promise to you through His Son this Father’s Day?

*This blog has been shared at any link highlighted here: Mom 2 Mom Monday Link-Up, Make a Difference Mondays, Pick Your Pin TuesdayWomen With Intention WednesdaysGrace & TruthA Little R & RRaRa Link-Up, Me, Coffee & Jesus, Dance With JesusBlessing CountersCoffee & Conversation, Saturday Soiree, Tell His Story, Find Stability, So Much at Home, Faith-Filled FridaysReflect His Love and Glory Link-Upand Christian Mommy Blogger.

More anecdotal stories about an everyday relationship with God can be found in Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day (includes Book Club Discussion Questions).


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22 responses to “A Father’s Love: Defender and Servant

  1. Norma Gail Thurston Holtman

    June 23, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Lovely stories! Lovely analogies! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      June 23, 2015 at 9:37 pm

      Thanks, Norma Gail, for always stopping by and being so encouraging! I owe you an email.


  2. Christine Carter

    June 23, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Oh such a beautiful and inspiring Post Bonnalade! ( 🙂 ) I am in awe of your father’s relentless fight against such physical battles against him… and your precious husband’s tenacity and love for your son… both such powerful testimonies to God’s unceasing love for us, and the power of Prayer and God’s love revealed in human hearts- such as those two.

    You are so wise to also share that there are so many who walk the battle line and fall in defeat… but the ultimate glory and triumph will rise. God’s purpose will always reign- even over death.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      June 23, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      Thanks so much, Chrissy! So true…it’s not so much whether or not they fall in defeat on this side of heaven…it’s more about Whom they trusted while they fought the good fight. Thanks for coming by and loving on me with your words! Blessings!


  3. Mary Collins

    June 23, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    So nice, Bonnie. Our Father absolutely came to save, serve and help us through all of the trials and tribulations we go through on our earthly journeys.


    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      June 23, 2015 at 9:40 pm

      Thanks, Mary! So nice to see you here again! 🙂 It’s so wonderful to think of Him so tangibly stooping down to our level to love on us. Love your words!


  4. WordwithMindy

    June 24, 2015 at 9:41 am

    This served as my morning hug from God this morning, which I really needed. Thank you, Bonnie, for your always encouraging, inspiring words of faith, hope and love. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      June 26, 2015 at 1:40 am

      Thanks so much, Mindy! I’m so glad it felt like a hug from God! That’s just the best! Your encouragement is so appreciated! Much love!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Christi Gee (@ChristiLGee)

    June 24, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Oh, dear friend. I see what you mean about God teaching us some of the same lessons. What a touching picture you’ve painted of your husband and what a strong fighter your dad is. And meeting us in the broken places … for however long it takes? Amen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      June 26, 2015 at 3:48 am

      Yes, Christi…isn’t it awesome how we somehow touch on the same things? Wow! Broken places are the best place to see the One Who Repairs. Thanks for coming by and leaving your beautiful comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. holyvacationqueen

    June 25, 2015 at 11:45 am

    what a beautiful testimony about two beautiful men of God, and your son who surely through witnessing the faith you father lives, and that your husband shows through his love can care, will follow in their footsteps. I love the scripture you share here! Such a touching post!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      June 26, 2015 at 3:49 am

      Thank you, holyvacationqueen! I didn’t even realize how I traced generations until I read your comment. Awesome! Thanks so much for your sweet words! Blessings!


  7. Jann Cobb

    June 26, 2015 at 7:23 am

    What a beautiful picture of love that you painted for us! I am so blessed today to read your words of commitment from both your husband and our heavenly father. Blessings. Stopping by from Reflect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      June 26, 2015 at 7:42 pm

      Jann…thanks so much for dropping in to Espressos of Faith and leaving me such kind words. I’m so glad we’re connected in Christ and blogging! Blessings!


  8. Groundbreakers

    June 26, 2015 at 7:47 am

    What a beautiful message for us, Bonnie. I often forget just how much my Father does love me and want me to be healed and whole. Thanks for your amazing post and your lovely reminder. Visiting today as your neighbor at #DanceWithJesus Linkup

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      June 29, 2015 at 11:18 pm

      Hi, Groundbreakers! Thank you so much for coming by! We all need this reminder, don’t we? Too many other things work against us and try to convince us otherwise. He always has our best interest at heart! Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

    June 26, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Bonnie Lyn,
    What beautiful, and true stories, of how God will fight for us if only we will be still and how Christ reaches out to serve and to heal us. So thankful that God gives us glimpse of himself through earthly fathers, but I need to keep in mind the power that you spoke of which surpasses all understanding. Thank you so much for sharing sister Pittsburgh gal!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      June 29, 2015 at 11:21 pm

      Love our Pittsburgh connection, Bev! So glad you came by #EspressosofFaith and helped me unpack these truths even more. Blessings!


  10. Jeannie Pallett

    June 26, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Well, I can tell right now after reading this you are a girl after my own heart and I like you! It is so refreshing to connect with another who believes the NAME Of JESUS and what He did for us and then be gutsy enough to go and claim it! May we never lose heart in the face of our foes. He is bigger than it all. Thanks for your visit, I enjoyed mine here and send blessing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      June 26, 2015 at 7:46 pm

      Jeannie….what a treat to read your comments! Today was a rough day, and I felt so worn down, and your words were so healing to read. Yes, on my best days, I am gutsy girl claiming what was already bought for us on the cross. It’s an area I’ve grown a lot in during the past 5-7 years because God turned my head toward His miraculous power. Thank you for the very timely reminder not to lose heart. From the Father’s mouth to your typing fingers to my eyes today. Thank you!! Blessings!


  11. Ifeoma Samuel

    June 29, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Thank God for your testimony Bonnie.
    You have such a blessing with the beautiful people God has placed in you life.

    How are you?

    God Bless

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      June 29, 2015 at 11:24 pm

      Ifeoma…it’s so lovely to read your comments! Yes, very blessed. I am doing well for the most part. How are you, my friend? Blessings to you!



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