Since my wonderful dad’s 86th birthday is fast approaching, I’m going to indulge with another account of his stint as an enlisted sailor in the USN. I grew up wearing Dad’s old white seaman pull-over (I’m sure there was an official name for it; I should ask Dad), and even had one of his sailor hats, you know, the kind that turns up on the rim. Something that I didn’t remember having, although I have since learned that it made the rounds throughout my many cousins as the years rolled by, was his dark blue, woolen Navy peacoat.
Dad recounts a time when he and his buddies were all lined up out in the cold on a pier for inspection—by a visiting admiral! (He impressed upon me that this was a pretty big deal.) They were, naturally, all wearing the navy-issued peacoats. As the big-wig perused the young men standing ram-rod straight (and probably hardly breathing), the “old man” stopped right in front of this young seaman soon-to-be-my-father and bellowed:
“Sailor! Where did you get that coat?!”
Dad, barely resisting the urge to jump into the water, humbly reported that it was issued to him (probably with a couple of “sir, yes sir’s” thrown in for good measure…)
“Well, that’s fine. I haven’t seen one like that since Korea.”
Evidently, Dad had been issued one of the last of that style.
Inspections are rarely fun. Evaluations generally cause our stress-o-meter to go up. Sometimes we’d rather jump into the cold water than humbly salute and, well, you know, change.
Here, God turns the tables on us, and invites us to “inspect” Him. Check this out:
“Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem. Walk around and count the many towers. Take note of the fortified walls, and tour all the citadels, that you may describe them to future generations. For that is what God is like.”
Is God knowable? YES! (As one scholar has said, not exhaustively, but certainly sufficiently) Does He want us to know Him? YES! “Inspect, walk around, count, take note, tour all”. And the purpose of this inspection is not to intimidate us, but to draw us into intimate relationship with Himself, and to bring as many others with us as we can. God does not hide Himself from those truly wanting to know Him.
Forty or so years since my dad’s honorable discharge, the fashion industry picked up on the old peacoat look and sold them en masse until it went out of style (again). Happy birthday, Dad, and thanks for teaching me about my Heavenly Father. As fashions come and go, and even as your old coat wears out, you have given me a priceless gift that never will.
PS 48 Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt Book 2) (Kindle Location 28896-99). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.