When I was about six years old my family had a powder blue Mercury Cougar. It was roughly the size of a battleship so when we drove around it must of felt like we were announcing the birth of some admirals baby boy. My father, who was a police man, took me to get a happy meal at McDonald’s for lunch after picking me up from Kindergarten. We had just gotten a puppy not long before and he was sitting on the seat between my dad and I and we ordered, pulled around and waited behind the other cars until we could go up to the window and pick up our food. Suddenly a man to our left was dancing and howling “Your Car is On Fire, Your Cars
On Fire!” My dad being the trained police officer that he was calmly pulled out of line and parked in the far end of the parking lot where we intended to get out and access the situation. However when I went to open my door what I can only describe as a wall of flames stopped me. In an instant my dad grabbed me, grabbed the dog and snatched us out of the car just in time to watch the car become engulfed in flames. So we stood there and watched our powder blue Cougar slowly burn up, or to continue the metaphor we watched our battleship sink. It was very traumatic for a kindergartener. The next little bit is fuzzy in my memory but I do remember the smell more than anything and also sitting down in the parking lot and eating my happy meal. It’s incredible to be able to say that my father literally saved my life, he pulled me from an actual burning vehicle, however he did more than that, he also comforted me. At some point in the middle of what had to be a pretty chaotic scene, he must have gone inside and gotten my happy meal. It’s not enough that he was a hero he was also filled with compassion. He did several amazing things that day, he drove the car away from buildings being willing to sacrifice us so no one else would get hurt, he kept his cool and pulled a squirmy puppy and a scared child from a burning vehicle. He even managed to make friends with a family at some point because I remember him talking to them and there I was, this curly haired kid, calmly eating a hamburger and feeding fries to our dog.
I shared this story a few months ago at dad’s funeral and it was impossible not to draw a comparison of this story to the one of Christ who when he knew we needed saving did what any father would do and saved us. We were helpless just like me and like our puppy and desperately in need of saving and when nothing else could have, a loving father made a way where there was no way and not only did He save us, He comforted us. It’s not a huge secret that dad was not super excited about us moving to Africa, something I’m sure every parent feels when their child is going away, but after he got really sick we were able to discuss it and he seemed at peace about it. I loved my father and I know he loved me and I miss him. I picked up the phone yesterday to call him during the Memphis game and had to be reminded again that I can’t do that anymore. However, I know he knew Jesus and because of that I know I will see him again.