Wrestling to the words of my Father

In West Texas, Football was my sport and I had no intentions of changing. That is until my family moved to Duncan, Oklahoma in 1982. Frustrated with trying to break into the ?system?, I began to look at other sporting possibilities. I was introduced to the sport of wrestling while in Duncan, but I didn?t get up the nerve to really try it until we moved to Oklahoma City. The first couple of years, I wrestled for Western Heights? Junior High. I was vertically challenged during that phase of my life and didn?t reach 100 pounds in weight until late into my freshman year. So, needless to say, I was no threat.

The summer before my sophomore year, an amazing thing happened. I grew; six inches in three months to be exact. I was excited about the long awaited growth but I had no idea how awkward I?d be as a wrestler. I spent most of the year getting used to being tall. Because I was only in my third year, most of the guys at my weight class had the advantage; even though I wrestled with a lot of heart, I?d often come up short.

Every year, the High School Wrestling Program would host a Tournament before Regional. Coach would enter the JV Squad as a second team in order to give the youngsters some experience in wrestling Varsity Competition. I was informed the week before the Tournament I would be representing the JV team at the 130 pound category. It was a bitter sweet feeling for me because I was honored to represent the team, but then again, I had wrestled one of the best 130 pounders in our region during a recent practice. Fred was his name and he wrestled for US Grant; he left an impression on me. I was not looking forward to wrestling him anytime soon.

At the time my Dad was living in Duncan and we hadn?t seen each other much during the school year. He called and asked me what I had planned for the weekend and I told him I would be wrestling in the biggest Tournament I?d wrestled thus far.

My Dad had never seen me wrestle and so he told me he would be there in my corner. I was happy and horrified all at the same time; the thought of my Dad witnessing me get pinned was almost unbearable. However, just having him experience the moment with me meant the world.

Before I knew it, it was Friday and I was staring at the Tournament brackets for each weight class that boasted some forty teams from all over Oklahoma. As I looked for my name on the 130 pound chart, I realized I was on the bottom part of the bracket with Fred. I drew a bye the first round so I would have to wrestle the winner of Fred and his opponent. Even though I wasn?t familiar with the kid?s name Fred was wrestling, I instantly became his #1 Fan. But, amidst all my wishing and hoping, Fred walked through him like he was standing still.

About 15 minutes before I was to tie up with Fred, I heard my Dad?s voice from across the gym; ?Jude!? he called. Man was I glad to see him. ?Who ya wrestling?? he asked. I pointed to Fred over in the corner warming up. ?Aw, you can take him?, he said. Just to hear my Dad say I had what it took awakened a hope inside me I didn?t know I had. All of a sudden all the facts didn?t matter any more; so what he had more experience, so what he beat me before, and so what he was on Varsity and I was on JV. My Dad said tonight was my night.

That night, I wrestled out of my head! With my Dad sitting in the stands behind my corner of the mat, I proceeded to put a whuppin? on Fred like he had never seen. ?That?s it, son; take it to him?, my Dad yelled; ?you gott?em, son, you gott?em?. I was ahead of Fred 13 to 2 when I hit a headlock and pinned him in the third period! I couldn?t believe it. I went on to place forth over all in my weight class, while our Varsity guy unfortunately got beat out. That day, I experienced how powerful the words of a Father are in a child?s life. When I weigh the facts that told me I couldn?t against my father who said I could, there was no contest.

Today, as we celebrate Father?s Day, I would like to take a moment to look at our Heavenly Father in light of the facts that oppose us in life each day. Also, as we look into the Father, let us examine how faith flows from the Father where as feelings tend to flow from the facts. Lastly, I want us to catch a glimpse at how love comes to us from the Father; yet logic comes to us from the facts.

Ephesians 3:14-19 is our scripture text where Paul is praying for the church at Ephesus. It reads: 14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. NIV

Father over Fact- vs. 14-15

In the second portion of Chapter Two in Paul?s letter to the Ephesians, he lays out in verses11-12 the facts about the Gentiles: they were called uncircumcised by the circumcised folks; they were separated from Christ; they were excluded from citizenship in Israel; they were foreigners to the covenants of the promise; they were without hope and without God in the world. Then in verses 13-19 Paul shows how the will of the Father out weighs the roll of the facts: Through Christ, the Father brought to Himself both Jew and Gentile-no one was better than the other. Both of their identities succumbed to the identity of Christ. They were both made members of one household-The Father?s House-through Christ. So in verses 14-15 in chapter three Paul says in his prayer that because he realized God?s will to make a family out of Jew and Gentile, he kneels or humbles himself before the Father. We are no different today in every aspect of our existence; we will either humble ourselves before the Father or we will continue to yield to the facts.

Faith over Feeling- vs. 16-17a

Faith comes from the Father. Every word he speaks is full of faith. He doesn?t look for evidence to see if what He says is true; to the Father it?s true because he said it. Feelings, on the other hand, have their origin in the facts. The fact that I had been beaten by Fred in the past dictated the feelings I had the night I prepared to wrestle him for the second time. That is until the faith filled words of my father challenged the facts. Paul?s prayer is all based on his faith in the Father?s willingness toward his family and not on feelings.

Love over Logic- vs. 17b-19

Love defines Father, where as, logic defines fact. To be rooted deep in love is to eat from the Tree of Life. However, to be rooted in logic is to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:9). Logic is limited to the dimension of the mind and the senses; but love?s dimension is limitless. The Father beckons us to reach out and experience love?s breadth; to test its lengths; to plumb its depths; and to rise to its heights! Through Christ, the Father has freed us from logic and has opened to us the door of love. And as we humble ourselves to the words of the Father, we become bodies who are filled, flooded, and fully influenced by Him. The problem Fred ran into that night we wrestled was he was no longer wrestling me; he was wrestling my father in me. This is what the Father?s love is designed to do in the heart of His children.

The Father out weights the facts, His faith out weigh feelings, and His love out weigh logic. Today, may we hear the Father saying to us ?You?ve got what it takes because you are mine!? And may we know without a shadow of a doubt that His love is without end.

Love Without End, Amen

(Aaron Barker)

I got sent home from school one day with a shiner on my eye
Fighting was against the rules and it didn’t matter why
When dad got home I told that story just like I’d rehearsed
And then stood there on those trembling knees and waited for the worst.
And he said, “Let me tell you a secret about a father’s love
A secret that my daddy said was just between us.”
He said, “Daddies don’t just love their children every now and then
It’s a love without end, amen, it’s a love without end, amen.”
When I became a father in the spring of ’81
There was no doubt that stubborn boy was just like my father’s son.
And when I thought my patience had been tested to the end
I took my daddy’s secret and I passed it on to him.
And he said, “Let me tell you a secret about a father’s love
A secret that my daddy said was just between us.”
He said, “Daddies don’t just love their children every now and then
It’s a love without end, amen, it’s a love without end, amen.”
Last night I dreamed I died and stood outside those pearly gates
When suddenly I realized there must be some mistake
If they know half the things I’ve done, they’ll never let me in
And then somewhere from the other side I heard these words again.
And he said, “Let me tell you a secret about a father’s love
A secret that my daddy said was just between us.”
He said, “Daddies don’t just love their children every now and then
It’s a love without end, amen, it’s a love without end, amen.”

Sung by George Strait

Love Without End – Secrets of a Father?s Love
Ephesians 3:14-19