Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Spectacular Grace of Having a Father

My family recently celebrated my dad's birthday and as I considered him I wrote this:

To my father, Robert Seal, on his 51st birthday,

“If ever there was an act of grace, it is to be born in a Christian home.”
- John Piper

I see abundant grace from the hands of God in allowing me to be born into the house of Robert and MaryBeth Seal.

The heart of my dad for his God was always evident as he worshiped with all his soul while playing his guitar. I regularly saw him worship with tears in his eyes. I remember being greatly moved while standing near him as a teenager during church services as he would be singing with all his might with hands lifted high. It was a regular occurrence for me to be moved to tears as he played his guitar and sang the songs that he wrote and the older hymns and poems that he rearranged and put to his own music. Though I love his music, more than once I’ve told him you must stop playing because I was crying, and I hate to cry.

My dad’s passionate fire for God spread to the heart of his son through the spark of his music. I not only knew that my dad loved the Lord, I felt it. This stood in stark contrast to many I saw that gathered at various church services – those who had appearances of loving God, but noticeably lacked in appropriate feelings and emotions.

While growing up it was a regular occurrence for me to see my dad with his open Bible and a notebook with pen in hand. He taught me much about the love of God by his example of unconditional and powerful love for me. What a wonderful way for a child to learn of the love of God – as he witnessed his father's love he could easily make the appropriate comparison, “If my dad loves me unconditionally...”

Dads are there for life. Unfortunately, in our day this is not often the case. As a child I often saw my friends with a noticeably missing father. Even my own wife had a dad who left her home when she was 6 years old, not to be even seen again until she was 18. This is all too often the case. I feel the tangible grace of having a dad who has always been there for me, both when I was going through hard times and when he was. This is another divinely designed example of our Heavenly Father who said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

The hope of Christ filled my dad’s heart as he often felt the heavy burden of his own imperfections. My dad knew he did not deserve God, and none of us do. For, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” But my dad also knew of the majestic grace of Christ Jesus. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.”

Dad, I have grown to love this same God that you love. I have greatly enjoyed worshipping side by side with you here. Certainly it will be a magnificent treasure that we will both enjoy in heaven as we will together worship the Lamb of God for eternity without end.


mwh said...

I've found your parents a blessing as well, and seen Christ in them.

Praise the LORD for another year and for Christian homes!

Amanda said...

How wonderful. :)

Dorothy said...

What a blessing, indeed! I am glad you grew up with such a God-fearing father too, Ben.

Sarah said...

I have also been deeply touched by your father's music. It blessed me beyond belief to have the chance to sit around and sing and listen to him play this past summer. What a gift to share with Erik as well. We are, indeed, blessed!

And what a legacy that you are a father who has been and will be present for your own daughter.

John said...

It is a blessing. Now, Ben, our job is to be to our children what your father was to you. May God give us grace.