Daddy, I’d like to have just one more date.
A time when we could sing and stay up late.
When we could reminisce and talk
About things of the Lord and how to walk
Here on earth in holiness and peace
Following Jesus with sweet release.
I’d hold your hand and you could pray God’s blessing on me
And I’d know just one more time that I’d be free.
Your prayers have gone before me every day of my life.
Your strength has led me through times of sorrow and strife.
It’s hard to not have you here.
To not know you are near
To not know your love and your life so good.
Your calm heart that always understood
When my faith was weak and small
Your faith, though, it always stood tall.
I gained strength from your wisdom
And insights into truths of the Kingdom.
You led many to the Heavenly Father
And then you took them even further
To learn how to walk on this earth,
To really have life and new birth.
You said we must walk in His steps
To study and know His height and His depth.
As a pastor you were a faithful friend,
Walking with your flock to the end,
Supporting them in sickness and health,
Giving them a drink of life that was real wealth.
You loved them and prayed for them.
You carried them when things were dim.
You shared Jesus with them when they wanted to quit
And you spoke truth to them when they needed it.
You struggled through your childhood,
Born poor and ragged, hungry and cold.
Yet your beginnings made you stronger,
Made you patient and able to last longer,
To love more completely,
To follow Him more deeply.
You loved your mother, father, sister and brothers
And brought them to your heavenly father.
Your unconditional love
Was so like the Father above.
For whenever you committed to my mother
You stayed by her and loved her like no other.
And when God took her home to stay
You grieved for her night and day.
And then when God brought you a new wife
You loved her, too, with all your life.
As a father, you were like no other.
You’d get up in the middle of night to hover.
When I was sick or needed a drink or a light
You were there to comfort and give sight.
When I’d whisper” Daddy” in the middle of the night
You’d come from another room to turn on the light.
In college, when I’d want to come home for a spell.
You would drive for miles with many stories to tell.
As a teen, I’d come home each night
To find you kneeling by a chair praying with all your might.
You had a date with God your father each day
Because you lived by what He had to say.
You taught me more by example than by word
Although I took to heart everything from you I heard.
You worked hard and provided all our needs
And planted blossoming, loving seeds.
You held our family together through thick and thin.
You gave us purpose and a way to win
Over disappointments and all that has been
Weighing us down with worldy pleasures and sin.
You loved us when we succeeded
And you held us when we failed.
You prayed for us each day on your knee
Keeping us from harm and praying for us to be free
It’s always been amazing to me
That your life growing up with your family
Was filled with difficulty and strife
Still you knew how to love us and give us life.
Your father wasn’t always around
But as a Daddy you were purpose-bound
To make sure we were loved and accepted
You were always there and we were never rejected.
As a friend, you’d give the shirt off your back
Or money or food or groceries in a sack.
If you could help someone, you would
And you’d share Jesus with them, as we should.
You’d fix their roof or mow their lawn.
You’d give them a ride or sit with them ‘til dawn.
Your life was given in service for others
And each one you met was a sister or a brother.
As a grandpa, you were our sweet and loving Poppy
Who wanted to see his grandkids serve the Lord and be happy
And when one would recite a verse or sing a song
You were there to encourage and make sure nothing went wrong.
You were one of their biggest fans
The one always rooting for them in the stands.
And now today, I believe, with God’s love
You’re still rooting for all of us from up above.
For the Word says, “Seeing that we are encompassed about
With so great a cloud of witnesses,”1 and so I shout,
“I’m down here, Daddy, you see me, I know you do.”
I’m living the life you showed me to
By your consistent example and loving care
Following your Lord, trying always with others to share
Your life was one that was honest, compassionate and true
Faithful to God in all that you’d do
Now I know what you’d want more than silver or gold
Is that everyone would live for Jesus and be hot, not cold.
You’d want our lives to matter for our Lord
To fight the enemy, using the Word as a sword
To lead the battle for victory and right
Always asking for wisdom and insight
To find those who don’t know Him
And help to open eyes that once were dim
So they can see that true purpose, direction and peace
Only comes from Him who is our Perfect Prince of Peace.
And today you’re dancing on the streets of gold
Not sad or tired, not gasping for breath or cold.
Down here your voice had gotten faint,
But up there you’re shouting with the saints.
Talking with Peter and Paul and Titus and John
Sitting at Jesus feet wide-eyed as He talks on and on
Listening to David playing the fiddle
While the angels sing a gospel tune with Daddy in the middle.
You’ve had 10 years at Jesus’ feet
Yet every one of His words you want Him to repeat.
We’ve seen your life and we know
It is possible to overcome even here below
If you could live so true, then we can too.
We can follow Jesus in all that we do.
Remember, one day I’ll meet you there at the Pearly gate
And say, “I’m ready now, Daddy, for our heavenly date.”
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy
Rev. Ernest F. Shields, 1931-2005