THE FUNERAL was over and Jim stared unseeingly out of the north window of the old farmhouse. Here he thought, was where his father had stood so many times gazing across the undulating fields to the hills beyond, from which he would turn and say, "I've just been thinking..." and those thoughts were always interesting. Now, Jim was thinking. Just four days ago his father had seemed as well as ever. Then three mornings back he had risen from the breakfast table, sat down in the living room, and opened his well-thumbed Bible to read for morning prayers, but his head dropped forward on his chest and his spirit slipped away. Jim had no doubt but that his father was "with Christ, which is far better."
During the funeral, Jim was made to realize more keenly than ever that he was the only one of seven children--all grown up and living away--who was not ready to follow his father. Now among the familiar surroundings of the home, his father seemed strangely near, yet separated from him by a great gulf. As others were moving about the house and talking, he wandered off to the barn to be alone with his thoughts.
Moving almost aimlessly, he found himself nearing the end of the feed-way. Suddenly he stopped. There in the hay before him were the distinct imprints of a pair of knees--he knew who had made them, and that he had prayed for him that last morning here on earth. A moment later his own knees were in the knee prints of his father, and while he knelt there, his "broken and contrite heart" yielded itself to his father's God. Arising, he paced back and forth for a time in the exultation of his newfound joy, then hastened to the house. As he burst through the doorway, his mother looked into his face and before he could say anything, cried out, "Oh Jim, I'm so glad!" And in that household which should have been grief-stricken, there was joy such as the world cannot understand.
Many successful fathers would be delighted to have their children walk in their footsteps, and many sons have followed their father into the same process. But far more important than to have impressive footsteps for a son, is to point the "generation that follows" toward the highest goals in time and eternity. There are many footprints made by fathers along life's way. But how many professed Christian fathers are such men of prayer that they are leaving "knee-prints" for their sons and daughters to follow?
A Godly father once declared, "Before my children open their eyes to a new day, I've already presented them to the Throne of Grace. And after they have closed their eyes for another night, I ask their Father in heaven to blanket them with His love and care not only for the night, but, all through life." Is it any wonder that those children early found and faithfully served the Lord? If children had more fathers' knee-prints to follow, there would be more Christians in the coming generation. Father, where are your knee-prints?