The Heart of a Father


The Heart of a Father – dfj


When our focus is on one of our own kids, we can begin to understand how much God thought of his only begotten Son… and how much He loves us, too.


My friend Steve was telling me a little bit about his family. “I don’t know if you know it or not, but Martha (one of his three daughters) was born with a number of medical problems. She had: a premature birth, weighing only 4 pounds and spending her first year in the hospital; a heart defect; a tumor under her chin; bowels that had to be resected within a year of her birth. The heart defect was very serious. The blood vessels connected to her heart were reversed…” Steve told me that at the time, there were only two doctors in the world who had successfully performed the surgery to correct that last problem – and one of them was in Boston. Steve and his wife made the necessary arrangements to deliver his daughter into the hands of the man who could literally save her life.

But a week before he was to take Martha to Boston for heart surgery, Steve got a FedEx letter from his insurance company. His family health insurance had been cancelled. Now, before you jump to the same conclusions that I did about a greedy, heartless, soulless, profit-driven insurance company stranding a family in need, let me explain the circumstances. You see, there was an accountant at one of the companies that Steve had founded who had neglected to pay their health insurance premium – just flat forgot to pay THAT bill. Although it was unintentional, the effect was just as devastating: the thing that Martha needed to save her life – heart surgery – was now financially out of reach. No matter how sorry his accountant professed to be, it didn’t change a basic consequence of the business world: no pay, no play.

Desperate, Steve flew to the corporate headquarters of his (former) insurance company. He had a check in hand for the past-due premium in the slim hope that he could get re-instated so that Martha could have the surgery. How deep is a father’s love for his children? In this case, it went deeper than every level of minion and supervisor at the insurance company – all the way up to and including the Vice President in Charge of Underwriting, the final “court of appeal.” Everyone said, “No. We can’t do that.” Everyone told him that someone with half a million dollars in medical bills already, and that was scheduled for at least that much more, was not exactly an ideal re-instatement candidate. And then, at the request of Steve, they passed him along to the next guy up the ladder. Until the last guy. Because when he told Steve “No”, there was no one higher in the underwriting side of the company to appeal to.

Crushed, Steve went down to the insurance company’s cafeteria to gather himself and reconcile the inevitable before he flew home to his family. As he brooded over a final cup of coffee, another man that he had yet to meet joined him at the table.

“Mr. Francis?” he asked as he sat down next to Steve.

“Yes,” Steve answered.

“Mr. Francis, my name is Willard Hartley. I’m the president of this company, and I can’t tell you how much I don’t want to do business with you right now.” Steve nodded. He was a businessman himself and he understood about making tough decisions. There was a right way to do business and a wrong way. But still, Steve had come today to plead for grace rather than justice. And at least some of the people he had spoken with today were sympathetic, though unhelpful.

Mr. Hartley continued, “But sometimes you have to do the right thing anyway. Do you have your check?”


“We’ll re-instate you.”

Wow! Just like that a leader in corporate America decided that something very dear to him and his shareholders, the bottom line, would, at least this once, take a back seat to mercy. And, perhaps, the Corporate Head of the universe smiled and nodded, pleased that one of his creatures had followed his lead in the sacrifice of something very dear to him for the lives of those who could never save themselves. So great is our Father’s love for us that He sent His very own Son to die in our place, that we might, through faith, live with Him for eternity.

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