Written by Mike Verkaik
There are so many privileges and blessings in being a dad. If you have daughters, walking them down the aisle on their wedding day is one of them. I have had the blessing of walking arm and arm three times in the last three years! It has taken a hit on the pocketbook, but the preparation and prayer time, followed by the intimate last moment have been priceless, precious memories for me as a father.
This past May I was also given the honor of performing the ceremony for my oldest daughter, Carissa and husband Levi. The memories of the phone call still linger as they asked, “Dad, would you be willing to marry us?” It was quickly followed by, “Unless you feel it would take away from you enjoying the day, then we can definitely ask someone else, there is no pressure dad.” After a discussion with Dawn and some prayer time, I was excited to say, “Yes! Do have a passage?”
This was a step out of my comfort zone, but as Carissa stated John 15:4-9 as the text, I smiled. I had been dwelling in John 13 – 17 since last September when I was going through a physical and spiritual battle. I was excited to share how God used that text to give me comfort, peace and direction as I persevered with Him through my weakness.
As a math teacher the ability to represent situations with graphs or relationships gives me better understanding. On that September day as I read Jesus’ words of goodbye to his disciples, they began to flow into a diagraph.
“Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?” The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing the work.” (John 14:10)
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16 – 17)
“On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” (John 14: 20)
The digraph I drew represented the Father’s relationship with the Son, the Holy Spirit and myself. After I finished the image in my journal I made the following entry, “ I am in the Father indirectly through Jesus!! I never thought about our relationship going both directions. Forgive me Abba for taking it too lightly. Today I claim again, at a deeper level, that I choose you.”
As I began the preparations for the wedding, I revisited my journal entries as well as committed to memorizing the passage Carissa and Levi choose. My desire for memorization was to be able to look at them as much as possible during the ceremony. God’s desire was to focus my attention again on the only directional arrow flowing out of me, the one going back to Jesus.
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. … If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John: 15: 4, 5)
Nine times Jesus reiterates what is required for fruitful labor, and guidance on prayers to be prayed – Remaining in Him. As a follower of Jesus, our Father pours Himself into us through the arrows of His Son and Holy Spirit. As Levi and Carissa’s stated their vows of love and commitment to each other, they wanted a message reminding them of their commitment to their first love, their arrow pointing back to Jesus.
With all my preparations, nothing could prepare me for the moment. As I looked at Carissa standing there with Levi with all the emotions, joy and happiness the only words that came to my mind were, “My beautiful daughter and son of the King.” May we hear those same words of love and commitment from our proud Father today, and respond with our arrow of love back to Him.
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Now remain in my love. (John 15:9)