A special father

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Every fortnight people from a farming background, or who have a heart for the countryside, offer a personal reflection on faith and rural life. They hope that you will be encouraged by it.

Many of us can look back to times on the farm when our father gave us instructions, or taught us something that was intended for our benefit. Now, you might be at the stage in life where you are giving the orders.

These instructions tend to be a combination of keeping the son or daughter safe, as well as passing on farming skills. Fathers do it for the good of the children and Psalm 103:13 shows that link between what father’s do and what God does, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.”

I remember daddy teaching me how to drive the Fordson Major with a hay trailer in a low gear around the hay field when I only damaged a couple of hay bales! My father was delighted I was showing an interest in farming and I was willing to learn. Proverbs 3:11-12 says, “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”

Father’s delight in passing on their knowledge about the fields on the farm, a piece of machinery, which cow was likely to give you a kick at milking time. There is that desire that the next generation would be capable of carrying on the family farm and there is an understanding that they are doing things to benefit the next generation just as John 3:35 explains that, “The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.”

Then the day arrives when father is no longer there with the words of wisdom, to share with you, to give instructions or to ask, “How are you getting on?

This is my first Father’s Day without my father. I remember the morning of his funeral taking a walk across the farmyard as I tried to gather my emotions. The things that hit me were the things we had done together. The yard I walked across, my sister and I had mixed the concrete which daddy laid.

The cubicle house walls where daddy taught me to plaster, the byre that we converted together to squeeze in the new milking parlour, the conversations that we had as we milked the cows. In a good way I felt proud of daddy and what he had achieved. Yet the Bible tells us, in Proverbs 3:19, that God who wants to be our heavenly Father did so much more, “By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place.”

This same Creator God loves us so much that He wants us to become His sons and daughters that He sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. This Father’s Day, don’t forget about the offer of eternal salvation and words of wisdom from our Heavenly Father, for as Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

Trevor Boyd is the minister of First Rathfriland Presbyterian Church in the rolling County Down countryside. Married to Barbara, the father of three is an ex-sheep breeder and previously sold animal health products across Northern Ireland.

If you would like to talk to someone about any of the issues raised in this article, please email Rev. Kenny Hanna at khanna@presbyterianireland.org or call him on 028 9753 1234.