It’s hard to fathom that 6 years ago I was standing in a Self Regional hospital room awaiting you to arrive.  Happy birthday, Obadiah.  It’s true what people say about how fast it goes.

Lil’ buddy, you are just growing up right before my eyes.

photo-2You are compassionate, smart, kind, giving, and very sensitive.

You love to write, draw, read, play baseball, play the “drum-bay,” pretending to be Spiderman, and to be in a state of deep thinking.  I often call you the philosopher because of how you can be processing deep things no matter what else is going on around you.

You woke up early this morning but pretended to still be asleep so that I could come and get Eli out of the room only to reenter the room with the rest of the family and sing “Happy Birthday.”  You wanted the first thing you saw this morning was the 4 of us singing the song with the “cha cha cha” part at the end of the phrases.  We were happy to oblige.  I loved watching you hop around your bed and see the excitement in your eyes.

We then spent a fun morning opening gifts.  I love that, without any prompting, you asked Eli and Gloria to help open your gifts and play with your toys.  You have such an understanding and compassionate heart towards others.

I love the activities that you chose to do today because it speaks to who you are.  I can’t wait to play kickball with you this evening, and I love all of our talks with your desire to understand things more.  I love watching you initiate working on your Scripture memory.  Whether it is Gen. 1:1 or Col. 3:20, I love hearing you recite God’s Word.

While there are many reasons everyday I am reminded of what an honor it is to be your father, one stuck out to me as I woke up today.  It was the Sunday before last.  You and Eli were coming along with me to soundcheck for worship that morning.  Earlier in the week, you had asked me what songs we were going to sing, and I let you listen to the music with me.  You absolutely loved “Arise My Love.”  While it was a new song to you, it was first recorded when Dad was only 6 years old!  Isn’t that ironic that you were listening to a song when you were almost 6 that was written when your dad was 6?!

As we drove around in the truck, you said, “I can’t wait to sing that song on Sunday!  My favorite part is the ‘boom boom’ at the end cause it makes me think of when Jesus moved the stone away and rose from the dead!  I just love it!”

We laughed and had a good time talking about the resurrection that Easter week.  On Sunday morning, I was busy making sure all of my tasks were completed.  You were setting up your “drum-bay” and Eli was tuning his guitar.  You got in your perch on stage, and I began practice.  I glanced back towards you from time to time to make sure you were OK.  I knew that you were, but it’s just a habit for a dad.

I missed something that you did that morning, but someone was taking pictures and I saw it later that afternoon.  I was going through pictures that was taken during the Sunday services, and I came across one that made me tear up.  While we were all practicing “Arise My Love,” there was a picture that showed you in the back with a priceless expression on your face.  You were sitting on your stool that you pull out each week, banging on your drum, singing along, and your gaze is fixed upwards with the most genuine sense of joy illuminating your face.  It was an unintentional photobomb.

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I asked you later about it, and you said, “It was just so awesome to sing ‘arise’ and think about Jesus getting out of that grave!”  By your face, I believed you.  You actually inspired me.  The pure and precious expression said so much about you.  The gaze upwards said so much more.  You are understanding so much about Jesus these days.  You are asking more questions about the Bible and what it means to become a Christian.  I love our conversations and pray that they will be more and more.

As your dad, the thing I desire for you most of all is for you to keep your gaze upwards.  This is a verse that we could memorize together this year, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2).  Whenever I look at this picture, I am reminded of this verse.  My prayer for you is that you will develop a heart for God more and more day by day.  I pray that when you look forward, you will find your father’s face still amazed at who Jesus is, and I pray that when I look backwards, I will see that expression even more sincere as the years go by.

Your father loves you very much.  You are my precious son and I am honored to be your father.  You have so much to give to this world, and I can’t wait to see all that Jesus does through you.

Obie

Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.