And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. Romans 4:12
Growing up as a teenager on a small farm in Kentucky was a great place for my father to begin changing me from a childish boy to a mature young man. He orchestrated this change in some very subtle ways. He balanced hard work on the farm with fatherly chats under the cool shade of nearby oak trees. These chats centered on doing what was honorable, serving your country, helping others, standing by your word, honoring your parents, taking pride in your work, and maintaining your faith in God no matter what the circumstances. My father was pretty shrewd in his approach because these father-to-son chats were pretty low key, intertwined with humorous stories from his past, jokes about working hard, and always welcomed since it meant a lengthy break from the hard work we were doing.
I miss those fatherly chats with my dad. He passed away more than 10 years ago due to complications from dementia and Parkinson disease. My father taught me that hard manual labor was honorable. It was a necessary part of building character and having a sense of accomplishment in life. To this day, I still appreciate the satisfaction of hard manual labor and never shy away from it (although now I have to take lots of breaks and can’t work for long periods of time).
As I struggle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, I try to view it as yet another hard farm chore to complete. It will take perseverance, hard work, faith, and determination to continue living a worthy life as I deal with the daily demands of this disease. Just because the task is difficult doesn’t mean I can sidestep the challenge and give in to the disease. I must maintain my faith in God and trust in His perfect plan. In essence, I must follow in the footsteps of faith that so many have trod.
This is exactly what the Apostle Paul was getting at in today’s passage. He was reminding the saints in Rome to continue in the footsteps of faith, just like Abraham, even though their task was difficult. The lesson for us now days is simple: we can’t look back at how easy our life once was and decide to throw in the towel just because we face trials or tribulations. We must continue to move forward and honor our Lord by striving to live a life worthy of the gospel.
This is what I try to do in spite of my disease. How about you?