This past weekend my dad and his wife were visiting our home. He is the only member of my extended family that still associates with us. The remainder of my vast family has left us in the cold since we were labelled as 'religious nuts' and 'cult members' by one of the matriarchs of the group - my mother. You see, my mother has a way of encouraging others to avoid disagreeing with her and any opposing opinions are to be kept silent. At the time we were accused of such labels, my dad was the only one who came to investigate the accusations and in doing so, came to the conclusion that we're are a normal healthy family even if we are 'doing the church thing'. He, of course, had been burned by the same manipulator before, having been through a divorce.
But this is supposed to be about my dad.
He is not a christian, and his life revolves around worldly pleasures and work (the work is just to pay for the pleasure). He eats too much, drinks too much and only gets exercise when the remote control isn't working. As his granddaughter gets older, he is having a harder time relating to her christian upbringing, but they have running jokes and teasing between them.
While they were here for the visit, Duck asked them to come to church. She always does and she doesn't simply accept their excuses - 'it's a long drive home', 'no church clothes', etc. Duck smiles and answers them simply, 'church is done by noon', 'any clothes are fine', etc.
My husband and I don't tell Duck that she can't ask these questions, and Grampa and Gramma never tell her the flat out truth. Church is meaningless to them, maybe even a little scary, too.
So Sunday morning came and they know we are going to church. They know they are welcome. We know it is unlikely they will come. And, sure enough, they are up early and packed to go home. We say our goodbyes in the driveway and they go one direction as we go the other.
Now, God always gives us examples and role models to look at and learn from. Good and bad examples and role models. My husband and I take the time this weekend to show Duck someone who loves her as best as he can - without Christ. We talk about the time we have to live for Christ in from of those who live without him. Most of all, we always remind her (and ourselves) how important this verse is to remember:
My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. Psalm 62:5
I have never doubted that my dad loves me as best as he can, as a dad who lives without Christ. And now I show Duck the same thing to see in her grampa. So, in return, we love him as he is and without expectations, but not without hope, that he will ever see the truth in Christ. That falls under God's soveriegnty, only He can change my dad.
So for now, we plan our next visit - without expectation.