On last Father's Day I got an unusual greeting from one of my daughters. I have so many daughters (6) that, even if you know my family, you could not guess to whom I am referring. And I will not divulge her name because notwithstanding her matronly age, she is still the most sensitive child I have. Easily hurt.
To make what could be a long winding story reasonably short, this dutiful daughter of mine mailed a singing card to me. You know the kind, where you can record your voice on the card. She chose to sing her greeting. Now here is the odd part to this little tale: When I opened the card, I heard this voice singing, "A Happy Birthday to you." Very unusual since it was Father's Day.
When she later explained it to her befuddled old daddy, she was mortified. She had simply got turned around and wished me a happy birthday – on Father's Day. But, as I told her in my most soothing paternal voice, the main thing was that she thought enough about me to send me a singing greeting – on Father's Day. My day. Never mind that it was not my birthday (I have had enough birthdays for me and you and your Uncle Mike).
Now you are wondering where I am going with this only slightly interesting tale. Okay, I'll bring the ship into port. After all the raucous laughter (not from me) about my daughter's gaff, I later was thinking about the simple words to the song. It was not the usual "Happy birthday to you" song that is sung a million times a year to a million honorees. It is a simple little ditty and goes something like this (and you should be forever grateful that I don't have the technology to sing it for you):
A Happy Birthday to you, A Happy Birthday to you,
May you feel Jesus near ev'ry day of the year.
A Happy Birthday to you, A Happy Birthday to you
And the best year you've ever had.
The last line stuck with me: "and the best year you've ever had." I thought Whether I count the year as the calendar does or reckon it from my last birthday, my year up to this point has without question been the best ever for me.
"The best ever for me"? Now that is covering a lot of territory. But hear where I am coming from. I can ignore the grueling mental fighting I experienced a few months back and the ups and downs of my physical health and the concern about the economic state of the nation, whose long tentacles have reached into my private life. Everybody has troubles of a similar nature to mine. I would have had most of them if I were not following Christ, so none of these things have wrecked my year. They have, in fact, in an inverse sort of way, made it, up to this point, the best year I've ever had.
What makes this year and any succeeding years the Lord gives me, so wonderful is that I can see, by the grace of God only, signs of steady, consistent spiritual growth. I can see the hand of the Lord on my life, albeit not always in the way I would prefer to see it. Sometimes it is in discipline, sometimes in correction, but always I sense the love and grace of God toward me; and I am forever grateful and humble because I have a fair knowledge of the horrible, wretched, misshapen creature I would be without that hand, whether in loving favor or in stern disapproval.
So thank you, my dear, confused daughter, for inadvertently helping to open my eyes to the wonderful love and favor of God. As my pastor often says, "Today is the best day of the rest of my life!" And the year I am experiencing will be the best – until the next even more blessed year comes along.
"They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green…" (Psa. 92.14)