The Loving Ways My Father Besieges Me

Behind and Before You Besiege me; You Lay Your Hand upon Me.”
Psalm 139:5

Today’s blog post was inspired by my interest in the variety of intimate meanings that the Most Holy name of God YHWH (יהוה‬) expresses. As strange as it may sound, the more I discovered about the various yet unique meanings of His name, I begin to compare God’s love for me to that of my own biological father love for me throughout my life until he transitioned in 2003.

The following is my reflective analysis and review of one of the most life-changing moments in my existence. This blog post is one of my most personal if not most transparent post to date. I am forever grateful for His Love, Grace, nd Mercy. Shalom

Light Shining Into Darkness

Without question, one of the most important encounters that I had with my father, Irvin T. Thornton was on the very first visit he made to Atlanta. As his first born son, I took great delight to proudly show him around this great city of Atlanta.

Historically, I did not love my father for most of my teen, young adult and adult life. Technically, we were estranged for many years, shameful yet very true. He and I were at odds about many shameful unresolved issues and events that my other siblings and I lived through growing up in a very dysfunctional military lifestyle. Never was there any healthy opportunity to attempt at finding any resolutions to these and other interpersonal crisis that existed between our family.

As fate would have it, for the very first time after many years of not speaking, my father and I were in each others presence. The other most common denominator that we both shared was American’s first original art form: Jazz music!

Both of us shared a great love and appreciation for Jazz music, something that I gladly picked up from him growing up in Columbus, Ohio as a teenager. I drove him uptown Atlanta to listen to the great Hank Crawford, who was the keynote artist during this free outdoors Jazz concert at Underground Atlanta in the late 1990s.

As we enjoyed the sights and sounds of Underground Atlanta, we begin to talk about family, work and other surface matters. Suddening something inside me insisted that I ask my father about my mother Claudette, whom we lost while I was a child. I had no other choice but to seize this moment while it presented itself for me, and my father. What a very wise decision that I made, for the very first time in my life, I was drawn into the very presence of my father’s heart, his pains, and his regrets, his joys and hopes.

As my father opened his heart to me for the very first time in my life, he communicated about the horrible multiple institutionalizations in mental hospitals my mother endured because of her endless battle with schizophrenia, coupled with alcoholism, physical abuse, her inability to love and care for us, and the absence of my father due to the Viet Nam war.

It was during this time, that somehow I began to see my father in an entirely new light. For the very first time, I saw my father no different than me, a human being that is surrounded by far greater things that one can not handle alone without the help of God Almighty.

I no longer feared nor hated him. I was compelled to love him as I inwardly wept for our family and all of the pain and distressed that was our portion in this life. Much of who I was as a human at this point was shaped by this missing revelational family news. This knowledge that was revealed to me by my father, like in many other families, were family secrets.

Secretly, I begin weeping for myself!

A Life Without God Is Useless.

As the sounds of Hank Crawford ministered to my soul, and as my father continued his heartfelt confessions to his son, somehow I begin to feel my heart come alive. The very information that my father supplied to me about our painful past, begin to unlock the hate, misunderstanding, and the inner-fear that had taken residence within my heart for years.

The previous hidden and missing pieces of my life were granted to me by my father, out of love and moral responsibility on his part, which in turn, aided me in time, to slowly learn to heal internally. Somehow I sensed that my father not only was relieved to share this information with me but he equally knew that this appointed time, was the best time toward open and honest disclosure.

Never did I know until this encounter with my father, that most of my interpersonal life was not being lived up to its fullest potential due to these unknown and unresolved inner struggles and issues associated with many isssues, namely the loss of or the lack of both my maternal and paternal instincts and nurturing as a young child.

Now it made sense to me why I had trust issues with people. Why I lacked the ability to shape and nurture meaningful interpersonal relationships with most people, namely with women and my delight at just be single and unattached.

Now more than ever did I begin to understand the elements that drove me to experienced loneliness most of my life.

Now I could point to hidden events in my past, that was the impetus for very poor decisions and high-risk behaviors that God intervene, saving me from myself in an effort at me finding myself.

Because of this encounter with my father, I thanked God for revealing Himself to me in 1975 when I was in desperate need for what He offered and continue to offer me and others around the world, His transformative Love. These two encounters with my Heavenly Father and my earthly father were the most important spiritual revivals that continue to shape and mold my life to date.

Yes, I did later learn to love my father only after hearing his heart and forgiving him and myself, for only doing what he was capable of during for my other siblings and myself through some very difficult times. The greatest lesson that I gathered from all of this is simply, whether you have everything or not in ones life, a life without God is Useless.

It is only God’s endless love and concern for me and all of His adopted children that supplant all of the human failures, disappointments, neglect, abandonment, abuse, custodial care, lack of role modeling and healthy communication skills. All of which were clearly descriptive of my place of origin and emotional and social development.

The Only Love That Matters

To be loved but not known is comforting yet very superficial. To be known and not loved is one of life’s Greatest Fears!

Yet there is Hope: 
To be Fully Known and truly Loved comes to us only in two sources, A timed tested mutually committed covenant relationship with another human being, and our present and eternal relationship with our Creator.

Both are only made possible by self-denial, forgiveness, God’s Grace, and His Mercy.

What really stood out to me personally in this quote is that any of us can live our lives to the fullest, yet never experience true love in this very place and time, which is perhaps one of this Life’s Greatest Fears!

In Him We Live, Move, and Have Our Being

The most Holy Name of God, YHWH (יהוה‬) is the most appropriately expressive way for me to list some of the multiple intimate and beautiful ways in which God Love Besieges Us in this life and the eternal life which follows.

God is our Presence as noted in Exodus 3:13-14

God is our Breath according to Genesis 2:7; Numbers 16:22

God is our Life and the Length of Days which is listed in Deuteronomy 30:20

God is our Love and Faithfulness which is written in Exodus 34:6-7

YHWH (יהוה‬) communicates to the faithful ones that He is the Great I-Am-With-you, The One Who Keeps His Promises.

It is He who Was, Who is, and the God who is Always will be, in-that He is ever present and is not a prisoner nor is restricted by time, space or man made systems or constructs.

Beloved, I am the God that has the power to continually sustain all of creation by The Word of My Mouth and by my Power.

Final Thoughts

I pray that somehow, this blog will somehow be a blessing to you. That for one reason or another, it will assist you to begin letting the Love of God penetrate into the darkness within your soul.

My deepest prayer is that your gift of life in this earth, has purpose and meaning while you pursue God…, moment by moment as you too, discover the multiple ways that the Heavenly Father Besieges you too!

“There is tremendous relief in knowing that His Love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me so that no discovery now can disillusion Him about me.” -J.I. Packer-

Grace and Peace