Today is my dad’s one hundredth birthday! Yes, he’s one hundred years old! That’s hard for me to believe or perhaps it’s hard to register that in my brain. He has lived a long, amazing and productive life.
Sometimes we don’t know why God allows someone to live such a long life. Some people live long in spite of being life long smokers. Others live long and nasty lives. However, the Scriptures do tell us, “Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long upon the land that the Lord your God gives you.” That’s one thing that my dad did quite well, honor his mother and father. Even as a young child, his mother made him responsible for his younger brother who had developmental challenges. As a young man, he was responsible to work and help his parents with expenses. As an American citizen, he was responsible to his country and joined the army before Pearl Harbor to serve. Then came marriage and his responsibility to his wife and children. As his mother and brother aged, he became responsible for their well-being and took care of them until they each passed on.
Last year I was talking to Dad on the phone. He told me that he was looking forward to seeing my mother again. She had passed away two years before that and he was missing her terribly. Immediately after telling me that, he added, “But I have to think about my children.” I nearly burst out saying, “But Dad, we are all mature adults now with our own houses and families! We are doing fine!” I didn’t say that though, maybe because he was so innocent in the expression of his thought. It’s just the way he is, very responsible.
So, I believe that God has allowed him to live this long and beautiful life because of that fifth commandment spoken so long ago. It is a testimony to us that the Ten Commandments are still very current and important in our lives. They never expire. The keeping of them gives us life and hope. You can be sure that life was not always easy for him. He married Mom just a few short weeks before he shipped out to England. They were separated for two long years. Troubles and heartaches came and went over the years. When my mother broke her hip and they could no longer live in the same house they had lived in for more than fifty years, he just gave it all up in a day and moved with her into my brother’s house up north. He left everything he was used to and moved to a colder climate. Everything changed in an instant, but he never looked back. He didn’t want to go out and do things by himself because he wanted to be there for her.
So, I am wishing my dear dad a very happy birthday today and am looking forward to as many more birthdays as the Lord will give him until he leaves us to rejoin Mom.