Isaiah 53:10 "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him"
Perhaps the letter was written only for fathers or perhaps for children to realize the love that fathers have for them or maybe it is for a society in whole, to realize that the heart of the father is part of every father out there, even in their brokenness and lack of being able to give or receive love. The reason is that the father is part of the child and the child part of the father, making the one's pain the other's pain and one's fears the other's fears and the one's joy the other's joy.
As a father with a 4 months old daughter, I watched the movie "Father of the bride" 24 years ago. My little girl was laying on my chest and sleeping and my wife wanted to put her to bed. I was too emotional and said she could remove her from my chest the day when she is 40 years old. I was not ready to give her away, after seeing Steve Martin's battle in the film, to give up his daughter in marriage. Steve Martin said in the movie: "I was told that one day I will look back at this day with great affection and nostalgia. I hope so. You fathers will understand. You have an adorable little girl..."
Considering this, I knew I would have to prepare my heart for the day my adorable little girl was going to leave my house and cleave to another man. I have done courses in childhood education, emotional healing, deliverance and even presented these courses, but nothing could really prepare my soul for the day my child is going to leave my home. The reason is that I never knew how deep the connection between a father and daughter truly is.
This mystery first began to manifest on the golf course. In my external excitement about the wedding I shared with a friend our plans for the reception, when he stole my joy with the words: “A father has nothing to do with the wedding. It's the bride's day." I was so upset; I hit the next shot out of bounds. My fellow players were very apologetic about their lighthearted remarks that they gave me an extra shot or mulligan. My next three strokes were perfect, and I completed the hole with an "eagle". My fellow players have decided never to upset me again on the golf course.
Yet the question remained with me: “How can the father's involvement only be in the finances and provision in the desires of the bride?"
The statement left me with two problems. As father, is my love for my child to be quantified after 24 years in the size of a financial contribution and to the emotional heights and lows that the bride gets from the day? Furthermore, what do I make with the deep, deep inner emotions I can't articulate or process? How could a loving father have "nothing to do with the wedding"? This statement did not sit right with my spirit.
For 20 years we have been living in faith, meaning there is no insured income and every month is a new challenge for provision in needs of the Ministry and for our family personally. Therefore, the challenge of the financial impact of a wedding was a huge test in Faith. The children didn't want to get married on Beulah Retreat, because "mom and dad are going to work too hard" and therefore alternative wedding facilities were investigated. Other facilities could not offer what they desired and finally it came down to Beulah Retreat as wedding venue. It was decided to prepare the grounds for 120 guests and the added requirement of a dance area of 80 square meters.
With no financial means, the task in faith began for a marriage date of 14 December 2019. At the beginning of October 2019, a friend brought his digger loader and excavated an area. On 16 October I started to build a retainer wall with cement blocks. We ordered the blocks in faith and received 66% discount, from R21,000 to R7,000. We could pay after we were given a financial contribution, that was also coincidentally received on the day we had to pay for the blocks. A Manufacturer of paving and curbstones offered us the option of paving blocks for free, if we clear out their manufacturing yard of all the rejects. Someone offered to assist with the transport and my 1999 Isuzu pickup truck was tested to his extreme. Later in October a builder offered to level the area and sponsored his team of builders to do the paving. After research into the building of a pergola and a projected cost of R12,000, we made a prayer request for poles. The following day someone offered help and said that they have poles available free of charge and even delivered them the next week. We also received contributions in cables, wires, shade cloth and physical handyman work.
The extensions did not only stay at the entertainment area but expanded to new pathways, tree felling, maintenance of access routes, restoration of garden benches, landscaping, donation of over 1000 plants and the physical planting and landscaping. Every faith step and every prayer request were met with the open hands of the Father in finances and through the love and physical help from people who took out time to help us. From the scope of the project and the faith we had to walk in, it was clear that Father wanted to teach us something of His heart. It was not only our family and the bridegroom and his family that had been touched by extravagant provision, but all who came to help or have contributed, experienced a deepening in faith. The end product was a very special facility on a mountainside with an unrestricted view of the beautiful valleys and mountains. It was completed in faith in two months, with no budget, but a replacement value of more than R100,000. We have not only experienced the provision of a Father in the facilities, but also in the personal needs of the bride, such as the dress, cake, flowers, personal care, function costs and even honeymoon accommodation. All in all, these contributions and services amounted to more than R80,000 that we could directly and indirectly contribute to our daughter's wedding.
Experiencing just the Father's hand of provision was awesome; however, I wanted to experience His heart.
I had to physically pour out a lot of sweat and toil and had no time and energy to process the emotional relevance of the event. However, I was acutely aware that something is stirring within me, and that I will have to spend time with the Father to identify and articulate it. Time for reflection only came on the morning of the wedding when I awoke at 04h00. I went to pray at the main gate of Beulah Retreat. Suddenly emotions overwhelmed me, and I crunched up as it flowed from a place from deep within. I expected it to be in the form of separation anxiety or abandonment, but it was deeper than that. It was like something that flows out of my spirit, that my flesh and soul could not handle or articulate.
All day I had to suppress this deep emotion and have done it by keeping busy. At some stage I set the sound system up and listened to a song, Butterfly kisses, that someone coincidentally send to my WhatsApp at that moment. The song is about a father and daughter's relationship over years and how it passes into marriage separation. Also during this time, another friend sent a vision he received, that as the metamorphosis of a butterfly from the "pupa" forms to a beautiful butterfly to bring forth new life, so the bride must also come out of her "papa" to bring forth fruit and life.
The moment of reality came when I had to wait for Willemien on the doorstep of Beulah’s main house. She would leave our house by walking out of our chambers, walking down the veranda and meeting me at the front door. The guests and the bridegroom awaited her on the lawn at the bottom of the stairs.
The moment I saw her, I had the same experience as this morning. It pulls me down and I struggle to remain standing. Tears just flow. It's a deeper experience than just beholding the most beautiful bride and woman. The experience is too big for my flesh and soul to be able to deal with. I'm just as overwhelmed in so many areas of my being. On a few yards we catch each other's eyes and it remains glued to each other. A lifetime's nurturing, provision, protection and love are captured in one look, one moment, against the background music:
I had no understanding of other people, not even my own fleshly fears or expectations, everything was just glued to the bride before me and a deep inward realization that the moment is greater than what I see here in the physical.
We had a few minutes together alone, while the pastor explained to the people the meaning of marriage and that the bride awaits the bridegroom, as we as bride have an anticipation for the return of Jesus as our bridegroom. We could share our hearts with each other and quietly walk down the steps in tune with the music. There was also a moment we could perform a last dance, before the end of the song. The dance was unplanned but so symbolic for the moment and reminiscent of a previous significant dance we shared.
On her 16th birthday she had, "A night of blessing" or Bat Mitzvah. At the end of the night of blessings, I had danced with her as the way with which I release her into the World as a mature woman. At the event she was blessed as a mature woman and I gave her a ring as a sign of my promise to her to pray for a man who so loves her as I loved her, protect her as I protected her and provided for her as I provided for her.
After the dance, I removed her veil and Anton stood closer. I told
him that today he became the man worthy to take my ring from my daughter's finger and replace it with his ring. Moreover, I told my daughter that she had left my house, to cleave to her husband and become one with her husband. I also welcomed Anton as a son in my home.
Then everything came the together for me. All the underlying emotion and inner struggles came together in that moment, and a deep rest came upon me. The bride and groom together constitutes something greater than just one or the other. This unit is a seed to something bigger than just the individual selfish and possessive love that I can have for the one. The bridegroom was immediately a son in my heart. I had to let my daughter go first as a seed for a bigger revelation of the Father’s love in my heart. This search for the revelation of the Father’s heart and the release of the revelation is "Well with my Soul".
I know that most people had all the answers and yes, I have heard the cliché "You are getting a boy", but not to walk through the emotions, I would rob myself of an extraordinary experience of the Father's heart. This was actually my quest in the whole process of preparing the bride and groom. My revelation is that if I want to look at the spiritual relevance of the wedding, then I have to discover the heart of the one who initiated the marriage Covenant, the Father.
In my time of reflection and meditation, I was taken to the scriptures of Isaiah 53. If you read the passage of Scripture and do not know where it is written in the Bible, then you will most likely think that it is part of the New Testament, so accurate the crucifixion, suffering and even the burial tomb of Jesus is described.
Yet in this chapter, there is a confusing passage in Isaiah, 53:10: "but it pleased the Lord to put him out; He made him crank. " How can God be so cruel and call Himself a God of love that is pleased by the sufferings of his Son? (NKJ "It graciously pleased the Lord to bruise him")
However, I realized through my experience and revelation during the wedding, that the general perception of this scripture does not acknowledge the love of the Father. The general interpretation is one of an angry God, who would even murder His son to control humanity. The truth is that it pleased the Father to make Himself crank and bruise Himself, to give up something He so loves to become a seed for a greater revelation or metamorphosis of unconditional love. The Father had to hurt Himself, in His deepest being, to see the bride and Bridegroom together.
In this experience I had the privilege to learn and experience something of the agape love of the Father. The word Agape love is from “ago”, meaning to lead as a shepherd leads his sheep, and the word “Pao” to rest. I could experience the walk in faith in the upbringing of my child, of leading, loving and caring for her and trusting in the love of God for her and myself. Now I can go deeper into that rest of Psalm 23 “He leads me besides still waters, He restores my soul and by the waters of reflection my soul remembers who I am!”