Made in His image…

Posted: 04/30/2015 in Life lessons
Tags: , , ,

Courtesy of Google Images

Over the course of my life, I have been blessed with three father figures.  Having worked with so many young people raised by single moms, my fortune is not something I take lightly or for granted.  I am grateful.  I am blessed.

The first father figure I want to share about came into my life when I was a young airman stationed in San Antonio, Texas.  I was a new Christian away from home and family for the first time in my life.  He and his wife took me in and treated me like a son.  I grew very close to them and, eventually, I became their son-in-law.  Without getting into too much detail, let me just say that this man (and his wife) was there at a very critical time in my life and I will never forget that.  I can absolutely attribute part of who I am today to having known him.

With a marriage in dire straits and having recently relocated back to my home state of Arizona – rocky marriage and three children in tow – the next father figure came into the picture.  He was the pastor of the church I was a staff member of.  About three years into my work there, my marriage was finally dissolved and I was a mess.  My ministerial indoctrination led me to believe that I would have to surrender my credentials and quit the ministry.  A divorced minister, after-all, is a stigma and reproach to any church.  This pastor and his wife stood by me through the throes and aftermath of divorce and helped me to realize that I would not have to vacate my post in ministry and that I could love and be loved again.  In fact, he officiated and his wife witnessed my marriage to my present wife of fifteen years.  That, coupled with the fact that he stood in the gap after having lost the first father figure through divorce, is something that I will always be grateful for.  I can absolutely attribute part of who I am today to having known him.

These two men have had a substantial impact on my life and, for their contribution, I count my blessings.  There is a third father figure, however, who has had the greatest impact and who has always been there.  I am absolutely who I am for having known him.  He is my dad.  You see, the first figure has not been a part of my life for the past sixteen years. The second has retired from pastoring and is spending much of his time traveling with his lovely wife.

The third figure?  Well, he’s still there…right where he has always been.  And, even when he has finished his race and has gone on to be with the Lord, he will still be right here with me…in me.  Unlike any other father figure I have ever had or could ever have, my dad has deposited something within me that no one else ever could.  By virtue of my conception and birth, my dad has placed with in me his DNA.  More simply put, I am made in his image  Out of all the men in a world of more than 7 billion people, there is only one that I am capable of being the most like.  I am genetically predisposed to be just like my dad.  Even in my rebellious teen years when I did everything in my power to not be like him, I was like him.  I couldn’t escape it if I tried…and I tried.  And the years of my youth spent trying to not be like him were among the most mixed up and miserable I have ever encountered…because I’m made in his image.

To attempt to live my life avoiding and ignoring the one person I am most inclined to be the most like was a lesson in futility…because I’m made in his image.

To cut across the grain of my upbringing and to reject the lessons he taught – the lessons, I believe, I was genetically bound and equipped to learn in a way only he could teach – was to invite the unrest and agony of broken relationship…because I’m made in his image.

My dad is the one man on earth I have the greatest capacity to fully connect with emotionally and to completely relate with spiritually; to fully understand and to truly be like…because I’m made in his image.

It’s inescapable.

Whether or not I enjoy and exercise the capacity to know my dad and be like him is up to me.  I can choose to fight my genetics…my destiny, if you will.  I can choose to reject the lessons and mannerisms and upbringing.  I can choose to live my life to bring reproach to his name…and mine.  I can even deny he is my father.  None of that would change who he is or who I am or that he is the one person on earth I was born to be like.  It would only change the relationship between us and bring the pain, and loss, and emptiness, and everything else that comes with estrangement and separation…because I’m made in his image.

the creator

Courtesy of Google Images

And, so it is with mankind and God.

He is the God…and Father of us all…among all the other gods that we are most equipped to know.  Indeed, the only One we truly can.  He has breathed into every living soul the capacity to connect with Him emotionally and spiritually and to enjoy His benefits and blessings.  He has spiritually encoded mankind to have the capacity to live in communion with Him and to know true peace in life…the peace that only comes with a reconciled relationship with Him.  He invites us to be salt and light and to be His imitators. He invites us to love like He loves and to embrace and demonstrate the character of His Son, Jesus, and, in so doing, to invite others to engage and fulfill their capacity to know Him.  He invites us to be like Him.  And, the truth of the matter is, we can be…

…because we’re made in His image…

And, He’s right there where He has always been.

…Peace and blessings…

~ joe


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