No series about my crazy hero, also known as my dad, would be complete with the story of how he and my mom met…
Although inherently shy, my mom loved nothing better than spending time with her family. She was very close to her sisters and her brother, and summers often found the four of them playing in the sand and the water on the coast of Belgium. This love for family and the beach didn’t diminish with age, and that is where she found herself that particular day. She was in her early 20s at the time, and while she and her older sister chatted amicably on the sand, a Frisbee came sailing through the air, nearly hitting her in the head.
My mom, looking around quickly to see where the spinning circle of plastic had come from. jumped to her feet just in time. That’s when she saw him: Jimmy Chaffart.
Now she had never formally been introduced to my dad, but she had seen him at the beach and knew him by reputation. And I might add, she wasn’t overly impressed with his reputation! Neither was she overly impressed when he came sailing over after his disc sporting a crooked grin and a phony American accent in broken French: “Hello!” he said. “Je suis americain (I am American)!”
My mom wasn’t going to take any of his flirtation. She responded, “Tu n’es pas americain! (You are not an American!) Tu es Jimmy Chaffart d’Oostende (You are Jimmy Chaffart from Ostend)!”
That might have been the end of their conversation; but my dad was intrigued with my mom, and he struck up a conversation of sorts. Of course, as was his way, he dominated the conversation, and my mom was again less than impressed. Especially when he wanted her address. In the end, however, when she saw no other escape, she gave in and told him where she lived. That was the beginning of the end. My father, definitely impressed with the young woman he had met on the beach, persistently showed up at her doorstep again and again until she finally agreed to go out to dinner with him. And then another time and another.
My father knew immediately that my mom was the woman he wanted to marry, and his persistent presence and gifts eventually convinced her of the same thing. Unfortunately, her father was not convinced. He didn’t like my dad, and nothing would persuade him to let his little girl marry this crazy man.
My dad didn’t like being rejected, and by this time, my mom wanted to marry him as badly as he wanted to marry her. Between them they continued to work on her father until he finally gave them his blessing.
If my dad had been any less crazy, any less tenacious and determined, I would never have been born; for he would have given up on my mom, and especially on her father. This story reminds me of a story in the Bible: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” (Luke 18:2-5 NIV)
Jesus told this story for one very specific reason: “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (Luke 18:1 NIV). He went on to explain after the parable: “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.” (Luke 18:6-8a NIV)
That woman must have been very much related to my dad! She was very persistent! And just like my crazy hero, she got she wanted. Jesus takes this a step farther to say that if someone who is evil, like the judge in His parable, gives in to persistent and determined “nagging”, how much more than will God take care of our needs?
There is just one potential problem, and Jesus outlines it in the second half of verse 8: “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (NIV). Jesus is giving us a very important message here. We need to be persistent in asking God for what we need, and we need to believe that He loves us and wants what’s best for us. We need to have faith that He will come through for us!
Yes, my dad was pretty crazy; yet, in thinking back, his craziness teaches me so many vital lessons! Lord, help me to be as persistent and determined and tenacious as my crazy hero!
In His love,
Director, Answer2prayer Ministries
(To access the entire “My Crazy Hero” devotional series, please click here.)