Even though it’s been almost 40 years since my dad died, my heart especially aches for him every Father’s Day. Several times today I’ve thought about how wonderful it would be if I could call him. As I looked at pictures of him, my mind was flooded with rich memories.
Lee Childers was raised in poverty without a dad. For many years he and his two older brothers (Marine & Navy officers in the battle of Midway) were passed from one foster home to another. At 17, saying he was 18, he enlisted in the Air Force as his only hope for a new life. And a new life is what he found.
His career as an Air Force pilot (Colonel) took him around the world, exposing him to the riches of diverse cultures, and providing him with a college education. This is
why my sister was born in Germany (He flew in the Berlin Airlift) and I was born in Japan (we were part of the U.S. occupation after WWII).
He was married to my mom for 33 years. Father of two children (my older sister & me). Military pilot. Commercial pilot. Homebuilder. Graduate student of psychology. Artist. Quiet. Gentle. Strong. Loved his only son deeply and well. Colonel Childers kissed his son goodnight on the forehead even through high school.
He was one whom I had the privilege of leading to Christ in January 1978. He then served alongside me in my first church plant. We spent many hours reading the new Bible I gave him and praying together during the last year of his life. During his final year he taught me how to preach to him every Sunday as he looked on at his son, the preacher, not knowing I could see him often wincing because of the pain he was experiencing from his cancer during my sermon.
My mom, my sister, and I had the privilege of holding him as he past into heaven. The good news is that he will be resurrected to new life when Jesus returns to make all things new.
Then he will finally meet my precious wife, children, and grandchildren. Then he will paint again. And we can have long talks again. And then, I won’t ache to be with him anymore.
Look very closely at his picture below & you’ll see his wedding ring. I’ve worn it for the last 37 years. I miss you dad, especially on this day, and deeply long for our reunion in the age to come.