Todd and I were having dinner outside at the Knick. We had picked up Dad after work for a Friday fish fry. (I had salmon.) It was a beautiful summer evening in Milwaukee. The waiter had poured some wine into our glasses and Dad had poured his O’Doul’s. A political debate began simmering at the table. Todd and Dad both respected and loved each other but they were not on the same page when it came to religion and politics. (I find notes in the margins of Dad’s Bible: “Talk about this with Todd”.)
Oh come on guys, I thought. Not now. I wanted to keep peace at the table and suddenly blurted out, “Dad, do you want to fly to Tucson with me?” I had been considering surprising my niece for her graduation and, honestly, had also considered not mentioning it to Dad. We had been spending a lot of time together and I thought a little time apart might be good for us.
“Why sure!” He said immediately and I let go of any thought of traveling alone. He had discovered the airport wheelchair service on his last trip. “I can go anywhere in the world!” He had said. “No lines! I don’t have to take my shoes off! Everyone is so nice!”
I wrote that conversation with Dad down in my journal. We flew to Tucson together on July 24th 2015.
But as I read through it now, it becomes significant in a new way. Within it, I see the reason I begin every day with coffee and Bible—with conversation: because I can go anywhere in the world, there are no lines, I don’t have to take my shoes off, and everyone is so nice!
If you are pleased with me God, teach me Your ways so I may know You and continue to find favor with You.
My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.
If Your Presence does not go with me, do not send me out. How will anyone know You are pleased with me unless You go with me? What else will distinguish me from all the other people on the face of the earth?
I will do the very thing you ask because I am pleased with you. When words of hatred surround you and you are attacked without cause, when you receive accusations in return for friendship, be a person of prayer.
Deal well with me for Your Name’s sake. Out of the goodness of Your Love, deliver me. I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded. Help me and save me according to Your Love and let all know that it is Your Hand—that You, God, have done it. They may curse me, but you will bless.
The one who hears My Words and puts them into practice is like the person who built her foundation on a rock. It withstands the storms. Nothing can shake it because it is well built. If you hear the Words and don’t put them into practice, you are without foundation. The moment the torrent strikes, you will collapse. What good is it if a person claims to have faith but not deeds? Can such faith save her? Faith without action is dead. It’s revealed by what you do, not who you are. Rahab (the prostitute) had faith and action—they worked together and her faith was made complete by what she did. A person is justified by what she does, not by faith alone.
Exodus 33: 12-23, Psalm 109, Luke 6: 46-49, James 2:14-26