studying Internal Medicine
G. K. Chesterton wrote in his book What is Wrong with the World that “the future is a refuge from the fierce competition of our forefathers.” For the young this is often true. When we are young we want to throw off the chains of the past and carve out our own unique presence – so off into the future we fly. Yet, on this Father’s Day there is much of the past to consider and even celebrate. As we grow older we should become more conscious of the blessednesses of the past even if there is pain laced in those memories.
The pain of the past where my father is concerned is not that he wronged me. No, not at all. The pain is that he did so much right and filled our lives with security and joy and helped the weak and the seeking, but it was too short. The LORD took my father, Peter A. Olivero, home to Heaven when I was 18 yoa. I had just become a man and I was so looking forward to knowing my father in a man to man relationship. My brief time with my Dad was like a 24 hour day where the Sun shone in its brightness but a few hours. So that day ended and my Holy Father thought it best to have me build my strongest soul bonds with Him instead and that has been for the best I see now.
On this Father’s Day I pay honor to a man who lived a rich life because he devoted himself to God and others. On this Father’s Day I pay honor to our Holy Father whose promise to “never leave thee nor forsake thee” I can taste an unforgotten meal.
I love looking at old pics of my Dad. It’s not just the nostalgia of the photos. Seeing these connects me to a fatherly legacy that was him. His unwrappable gift to my sister and I was in being a man of character, in being the God-devoted man he was. It was a gift that could only be given by living it out. Character does not flow naturally to the children by books or seminars or DVDs or even sermons. It comes from the fathers living it out before them.
I really looked up to him. He was smart. He was well-read. He was funny. He had lots of friends because he was friendly. He was a leader. Yet, what set my Father on a pedestal in my eyes was not his smarts or talent, but what he devoted himself to.
My Dad chose to go to the mission field and use his medical abilities to draw men to the Christ and His Gospel. He and my Mom could have stayed in America and made a comfortable life for themselves. They did not. After Jim Eliot, Nate Saint and their 3 companion missionaries were murdered in the service of Christ my father like many others was driven to reach the un-reached with the Gospel. Dad was still single when he set his eyes toward missions. He was willing to go as a single missionary. He swerved away from a state-side medical career and all the comforts that might increase in his future. He saw that his life was worth giving up, sacrificing, for One greater than himself. As I often heard my Dad say, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” (from the Journal of Jim Eliot)
What is the Gospel? It is the good news that Jesus, God’s Son, came to earth, lived as we do, paid the penalty of eternal death for sin on the Cross, that He rose ALIVE from the grave and that He promises eternal joy and life to all who BELIEVE (accept and commit to) this wonderful news. You can read about it in I Corinthians 15:1-11. Have you turned your life, your guilt and your eternal destiny over to the Savior? If you are not sure what this means for you, let me know. I want to help.
My Dad loved to sing even though he could carry a tune in a bucket. My Dad taught me to love music. He was not a musician or anything close to it, but it is because of him that I love it. When he would sing the hymns and choruses in church he didn’t hold back on the chance that he might hit a wrong note (or several). In our little church in Illuchi, Ecuador he was willing to lead the singing or alternate with the other missionaries. He was willing to help young believers get acquainted with hymns that are rich in Biblical truth. He did not have musical talent, but he loved music, especially music that pointed the soul to God.
There are many sacrifices Dad made, but one that has spoken loudly to me over the years is his decision to leave the mission field. In the situation where we lived in Ecuador my sister and I would have to be sent off to a distant school to finish school. He and Mom would have only seen us a few times a year. So he made a harder and better choice. It was a hard choice because many other missionaries thought he was doing the wrong thing. But he believed strongly that the first ministry God had given him was his family. He felt it was best to come back to America so we could go to a Christian high school while living at home with our parents.
Dad used to say, “As long as I am alive no one else in the universe can be the father to my children that I ought to be.” He and my Mom had seen many children depart from the faith of their fathers because the parents were too busy with ministry work. His plan was to go back to the mission field after we graduated from high school. In God’s providence the LORD took him home to Heaven before their return to Ecuador could be realized.
Proverbs 17:6 reminds us that “the glory of children is their father.” This is especially true when we as fathers devote ourselves to seek after the glory of our Father who is Heaven. None of us can claim that the light of truth, the light of joy, the light of Gospel as our own. What light we have is a borrowed light. We have no glory we can rightful claim as all our own. What glory we have we owe to our fathers and what glory we delight in is given by our Father, The LORD of glory.