LAUREL of Northeast Georgia June 22

Page 48

Faith

A father’s love is different. By Avery Lawrence – Pastor of Persimmon Baptist Church

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ometimes, a father’s love is shown with a word not spoken…a silence that echoes, “I understand, I’ve been where you are, and you are going to be ok.” Sometimes, a father’s love is stern…a voice of reason and accountability. Other times, a father’s love is loud…a booming sense of pride and overwhelming joy. A father’s love is sometimes rugged at best but a father’s love is true, like a beacon in the middle of a storm. The unspoken words often don’t need to be spoken. Most times, one knows what he’s saying by the look in his eyes and by his actions. Sometimes a father’s love is shown through provision…nothing fancy, just showing up and providing for his family. I was blessed with a hard-working daddy who instilled in me a strong work ethic and a love for my family. He would leave for work long before I left for school and often come home after we kids were in bed. Daddy always worked with his hands. I remember seeing his calluses bleed and sometimes even torn because he had caught them on something. He would pull out his knife and finish cutting them off. They would soon be replaced with new calluses. To this day, I notice people’s hands. Working hands are not smooth. They are cracked and dirty but they tell a story. Working hands are scarred and tattered and show a willingness to get up and make a living. There were three of us kids; two boys and a girl. We really had no idea how hard Daddy worked to provide a roof over our heads and food on the table. He was a little rough around the edges, or so he says. In my eyes, there was more good than bad. We knew he loved us. He wanted us to have more than he had growing up, so he worked two, sometimes three, jobs to make sure we had all we needed and more than our share of our wants. Daddy wanted us to grow up to be good people. He wasn’t much for going to church, but he respected those that did. He did, however, encourage us to go. My granny would walk us to church every Sunday. The preacher kept telling us that if we would pray for our daddy, he would show up. We believed the preacher…. One Sunday, my daddy showed up at church. Then, he kept coming back. It wasn’t long until he surrendered his life to Jesus. Daddy was a different man….His edges weren’t nearly as rough anymore. His vocabulary was replaced with scriptures, and he was happy; a different happy. He told me just the other day that there were people betting on how long it would last. It’s been more than 30 years since he met Jesus. Our Heavenly Father’s love is different. According to Greek philosophy, agape is the kind of love that God has for us. Agape can be best described as unconditional, bigger than ourselves, a boundless compassion and an infinite empathy that is extended to everyone, whether they are family members or distant strangers. In common terms, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you are from, or what you have done, He will still love you. God’s love is infinite. It has no beginning and no end. He loved us so much that He gave His one and only Son, Jesus to be a sacrifice for our sins. If we put our faith and trust in Him, we will have eternal life (John 3:16). That is the kind of love that only our Heavenly Father can give us. God didn’t send his only Son to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. The truth is, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. Jesus Christ came to be our Savior. It is up to us to either accept that love, or reject it. It is God’s will that we come to know the saving grace that He has extended to us. He knows your past. He sees your future. He knows everything about you, and He still loves you. That’s what a Father does. That’s the love of our Heavenly Father.

Avery Lawrence is the Pastor of Persimmon Baptist Church. Avery is a native of Rabun County and has a great love for Jesus and passion to share the gospel. Avery is the assistant principal at Rabun County Middle School and is loved by all. He is married to Nawana and is step-dad to Casi Best, but more than that he is “Poppy” to Anni and Homer Liam.

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