Today is my 46th birthday. Wow! While I enjoy birthday celebrations just as much as the next guy, my birthday has never been the same since June 10, 2006.
If you travel East on Highway 84 heading out of a little town by the name of Tenaha (pronounced; Ten – a- ha) in East Texas, after a couple of miles you will come to County Road 4475. On your left hand-side, you will see the Ramah Baptist Church and adjacent to the little church, you will see a cemetery.
In that cemetery, you will find the memorial marker for both my father, William Charles John Wiebold and, my mother, Betty Jane Wiebold. On the side that bears my father’s name, you will find that the date of his passing was June 10, 2006; my 40th birthday.
I will never forget that day as it has had a profound impact on my life. It was a Saturday. Strangely enough, I was in a business meeting when I received the phone call that Dad had passed away. Earlier that morning, he had called me to wish me a happy birthday. We talked briefly about things and, as always, he shared a bit about “what the Lord had been showing him.” The last words my father ever spoke to me and the last words I ever spoke to him happened as we hung up the phone that day. They were the same with the exception of one word. “I love you, son.” he said. “I love you, Dad.” I replied.
Had I known what would have transpired after I hung up the phone, I would have kept him on the line and driven from Dallas back to East Texas immediately. Just one more hug! Just to hear him laugh one more time! Just to have him preach to me a little while longer. Just to see him!
My father was 80 years of age when he passed away. I was officially 40. Through my father’s passing, the Father began speaking to me about certain things; the importance of generations, Father/Son relationship, understanding an orphan spirit, receiving the Spirit of Sonship, etc. Over the years, I have continued to delve deeper into the revelations and truths I have been shown about those types of things. They are important in understanding God as Father and what He is truly desiring to reveal to all of us.
I realize that such revelations are part of the spiritual heritage that my earthly father vested in me. I honor him for the price he paid to know God the way in which he did. Oh, no! He was not a perfect man. He had his own way of looking at things and he was not shy about sharing them. In my arrogant zeal as a young man, I prided my self on the fact that I wouldn’t be like my dad in certain ways. Now, as I get older, the wiser he becomes!
Some how, some way, whether he knew what he was doing or not, my father was able to seed into my life a love for God and His Word. In the 6 years since his passing, I’ve learned more about my Heavenly Father than I ever knew before. The reason for this is because my dad was able to break the chain of powerless religious traditions in the family line and instill in me, not only the courage and fortitude, but the responsibility to seek God in an authentic, adventurous fashion. For that, I will be forever grateful and I seek to do the same in all those with whom I disciple, train or relate.
So, today, as I celebrate my birthday, (am I really 46?) I will be beyond the grief of losing my father and focusing on the One he pointed me toward. I will carry my dad with me always for I am my father’s son and I am honored to be so. But, my Father is desiring to reveal His Son in me and that is worth celebrating in this life!
Keep your peace!