Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Father's Mercy

My husband's father, a career officer in the United States Air Force, served in the European theater during World War II. An officer in an engineering unit, he was charged with burying the dead after D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge. Seeing the horrific casualties of war marked him for life.

Bob's father at beginning of WWII
My husband, Bob, was born while his father was overseas. When his father came home, his father treated him more like a recruit in boot camp than like a son. Only after he came to know the Lord in his later years, did he soften, and they were able to develop a father-son relationship.

One day, when Bob was boy, he lost his temper and in anger punched his bedroom wall. He was terrified when he saw the fist-sized hole. Not wanting his dad to know, he covered it up by taping a large map over the spot.

After some time, orders came that they were being transferred. It was time to pack up. Trembling inwardly, Bob removed the map from the wall. To his amazement, the hole had been patched!

To this day, Bob does not know how his father found out nor when he patched the hole. Why had he not been punished? No one ever mentioned that hole. Both of his parents are now with the Lord. He can only guess that maybe his father thought Bob had suffered enough over fear of discovery.

To me, this incident of his father's mercy illustrates God's mercy.

Bob & his father
Grace is receiving good things from God that we haven't earned and don't deserve, such as salvation. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8, NIV).

But mercy is when God withholds the punishment we do deserve. Because of sin, we all deserve punishment. And "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). The Prophet Jeremiah wrote that it is "through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed" (Lamentations 3:22, NKJV).

God's mercy, as well as His grace, is provided for us through the death of His Son on the Cross. The Apostle Paul often linked grace and mercy together in his writings because they are like two sides of the same coin. "He saved us, not because of the righteous things we have done, but because of his mercy" (Titus 3:5, NLT).

As we honor our fathers this Father's Day, let us also rejoice in the love, grace, and mercy of our Heavenly Father.

Happy Father's Day!