Thanks, Lord, for Dad

This is a tribute that I wrote for my dad as part of a biographical sketch that was published in an encyclopedia of ministers for his denomination several years ago. I saw it again in my files tonight and decided it was worth posting. All of it is still true - in fact, I feel these words more today than I did when I first wrote them.

I have had the rare privilege of growing up in a home that was both holy and happy. Unlike some “preacher’s kids” of our generation, I grew up with a profound respect for my Dad’s ministry - not resentment. As I reflect on the grace of God which is so evident in my Dad’s life, several things mark his ministry as unique.

1. His deep confidence in God’s sovereignty. I think I absorbed this deep and abiding confidence in God’s Providential care for His children from my father and mother. I well remember our singing “God Moves in a Mysterious Way,” when mother had lost a baby through miscarriage, and the frequent answers to prayers for financial provision that sometimes came in large sums from people we had never even met before or knew only scarcely well. When in trials, we could always count on Dad to remind us of Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God who are the called according to His purpose.” He believes it and his life has proven it to be true.

2. His Christ-centeredness. The last thing my father would want is for me to extoll him in this short tribute to his life. His passion has been to exalt Christ. His messages are Christ-centered. Perhaps one of the most powerful I ever heard him preach was taken from Paul’s words in Galatians 2:20: “not I, but Christ,” four words which my Dad believes sum up the essence of Christianity.

3. His humility. I have never once felt that Dad was trying to be humble, but I’ve often felt that he was humble. I have seen him seek the good of others above his own interests time after time. I believe this unaffected humility springs from his deep realization of God’s majesty and his own dependence upon God for anything good in his life. He is a sinner (as are all of us) and he knows it. Christ is a Saviour, and he also knows that.

4. His gentleness. My Dad was a firm disciplinarian, but my siblings and I have not cowered in his presence. He governed our home with an iron fist, but it was covered with a velvet glove. He gave us hugs. He is one of the most kind and gentle men I have ever met. Rarely have I seen him angry. He rules his spirit. And when he has on occassion offended with a harsh word (which was rare), he has sought forgiveness. Not many fathers do that.

5. His happiness. Dad is a serious man, but not an unhappy man. My memories of home include much laughter and much singing. My father is holy, but not legalistic. His joy is real, because it springs from a real faith in a sovereign God who loves with an everlasting love.

Words fail to express the depth of gratitude I feel towards God for giving me a father like Ronnie Hedges. The fruits of his ministry will not be known this side of heaven, but there is at least one (and I am sure my brothers and sister would say the same) who has felt the impact of the grace of God in the life of this man of God. It is my pleasure and honor to call him my father.
Thanks, Lord, for Dad.


Unknown said...

Brian, you are truly a man blessed by God to have had a father like this. The fruits of it are evident in the ministry you have today. And if your father has impacted other lives in a similar way,and I would expect he has, then the fruits of his life are expanding exponentially.
Your post, coinciding with events happening in the life of my church right now, really drives home the point that we are to take the responsibility of our calling very seriously. How we live our lives matters very much. Do our families see the same person in private that others see in public? What we do and how we live can have eternal ramifications. Integrity, even in the small things, matters a great deal, especially in the eyes of the children God has placed in our care.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with all that you have said. There are many, many times that I thank God for blessing me to know your parents and family.

Greg is right. Your father has impacted other lives in a similar way. The day that my wife and I met Brother Ronnie is one we can look back on as a turning point in our lives. May God bless us with more men like him.