I love my father but it took me nearly 39 years to tell him those words – face to face. It only happened recently. Why or how? I’ll leave it to the psychoanalysts.
While I’ve always loved him so passionately, a big gap began to wedge in our relationship during my adolescent years which is probably the one thing I pray for as my eldest enters into middle school. For several years, I wasn’t quite sure why that was the case.
But after further consideration, I think it is directly linked to fishing. My fondest memory as a kid was going fishing with my father. Everything I know about fishing I learned from my father. But during my teenage years, I became too cool for my father and no longer responded to his invitations to go fishing.
Eights years ago, I endured through one of the most difficult seasons of my life. I left my (then) current pastorate in hopes of planting a church called Quest but everything I had envisioned didn’t immediately come to pass. Instead of planting a church, I was working as a custodian scrubbing toilets, vaccuuming and struggling to provide for my (then) one child and pregnant wife. I still remember bitterly sobbing in my room one night and saying a few choice words to God:
I am so angry at you. I feel like I lost control of my life.
(the PG version)
I learned through that experience that (again) I don’t have ultimate control over my life and prayed I would never go through anything like that again…
Well, I guess life has its seasons of unexpected turns. Nearly two weeks ago, I had to make one of the most difficult decisions of my life. It was a painful decision but consulted with my wife, and then informed our kids that because of some financial situations (and investment with One Day’s Wages), Dad & Mom had chosen to sublet our furnished home for couple months to some strangers and within 72 hours, we’d have to pack up some stuff and stay with some friends.
This past Sunday was one of the greatest days of my life. Minhee and I, along with our other two younger children, and the larger Quest family, witnessed the baptism of my oldest daughter, JC, who after much prayer, chose to make this public profession of her love and devotion to Jesus. Minhee and the kids came on stage along with others in JC’s class and I had the great joy as her father to baptize her.
Please do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to read this and pass it on to others. I want to share 7 Life Lessons of a younger man named Craig Wong (1972-2009) who despite his arduous battle with brain cancer over the past 15 months, began sharing “Craig’s Life Lessons” to as many people who would listen…
The call of being a pastor has its ups and downs – as it reflects the ups and downs of life. I believe in the gospel that is Christ and the good news that not even death can separate those that have claimed Christ in their lives. But there is still mourning and grieving in the loss of a loved one. As a pastor, there are times I honestly wish I didn’t or couldn’t be emotionally connected to my flock. But then, that simply wouldn’t be worth it. This past year, our church came alongside the pain of numerous in our church community. I presided over the memorial service of a newborn baby that died 3 minutes after birth. Today, I officiated the burial service of Craig – son, brother, husband, father to two, and friends to so many.
Honestly, I did now know Craig well prior to the diagnosis of a brain tumor in October 2007. He was experiencing headaches so he went in to the doctor on a regular Friday afternoon for what he perceived to be a “routine check-in” only to be told he had a brain tumor. I remember receiving that phone call. The brain tumor was initially diagnosed as benign but when they went in to remove the tumor several days after that Friday, it was found to be malignant and the tumor has already begun its ugly growth. I have gotten to know Craig, his wife, and their larger groupr of family and friends over the past 15 or so months and realized that even in his 36 years of life, he left an amazing legacy.
He loved his wife, loved his children, loved his family, and was devoted to his friends. And all those relationships were informed by his faith and love for Christ. This was apparent today as several hundred folks gathered later in the afternoon after the burial for the “celebration of Craig’s life.”
I still remember learning about his first response once he work up from his first surgery upon learning the tumor was not benign but malignant: