“Apart from a direct calling from God, any man who was gone from his family as much as I, would be in sin.” My dad, Bill Bright, who traveled 80% of the time during my growing up years, imparted that to me after I got married and started a family of my own. The amazing thing is, I don’t remember him being gone that much. I think it was largely due to three factors.
First, I think God stepped in and filled in the gap. As my dad once disclosed, “I knew what God called me to do, so I had to trust Him with your mother and you boys.” And when he said, “trust,” he meant sacrificial trust. I remember a transparent moment when he divulged, “Every time I got in the car to go to the airport, the Enemy would whisper in my ear, ‘You’re never going to see your family again.’ I would cry every time.” He quietly and graciously bore that burden for years. The only one who could help him carry it was Jesus.
Second, I knew my dad loved me deeply and unconditionally. Period. He often said that if I ever needed him, he would catch the next flight home regardless of whether he was on the other side of the globe, or meeting with the President of the United States. It wasn’t until my college years that I tested him on this. He passed with flying colors. Being loved unconditionally by my dad built a formidable foundation in my life both as a child and then as a young man.
Third, in all the years my dad was gone from home I never heard my mother complain about his absence. She would usually take one major trip with him each year during the child raising days but stayed at home the rest of the time to rear her boys. I now stand in awe of her intense sacrificial loyalty, both to my dad and the Great Commission. Such personal sacrifice is rarely seen, or even valued, in today’s faint-hearted Christian culture focused on self-love, self-fulfillment and victimhood.
He willingly paid a steep price to follow Jesus. So did my mother. They never demanded their rights. Why? The six simple words on my dad’s headstone answers that question with the eloquence of humility: “A Slave of Jesus by Choice.”
So today, on my dad’s 101st birthday, I honor him—and his bride whom he loved dearly. Thanks dad. I love you.
Copyright ©2022 Brad Bright