With Father’s Day on the horizon and my dad in Heaven since February 2003, I am grateful for the opportunity to write about a man who has had the greatest impact on my life. Last week while reading through the book of Nehemiah, I was reintroduced to a man that brought back memories of my father.
Then it was, when the wall was built and I had hung the doors, when the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed, that I gave the charge of Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the leader of the citadel, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many. And I said to them, “Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot; and while they stand guard, let them shut and bar the doors; and appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, one at his watch station and another in front of his own house.” (7:1-3)
Nehemiah 1-6 describes the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem and chapters 8-13 give details of the restoration of the people. In Nehemiah 7:1-3, we see the safeguards Nehemiah put in place to protect the city from attack. In so doing, he selects a godly man, Hananiah, as his military leader. It is this man that reminds me of my dad.
My dad was not well-known.
Certainly Hananiah is not a “household” Bible name, but he was known by his God. Many people knew my dad, but his name was not in the “marquee lights” of spiritual leaders. No matter, there is One Who knew his name for He redeemed him and brought him into the family of God by the crosswork of Jesus Christ. Truth is, it doesn’t matter if our name is known among men, but it eternally matters that the Father knows you as His child through genuine, Christ-only salvation (John 10:3, 7-11, 27-29; Romans 10:9-13; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).
My dad was a military man.
Hananiah was the leader of the citadel. My dad was always proud of his military service for his country in the Army which included duty in Japan and Korea during the Korean War. How special to visit the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 2009, placed there in honor of my dad and thousands of other fellow soldiers.
Dad was a soldier for Christ and righteousness as well. He stood his watch on guard for our home, his marriage, the Faith, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. He never dipped the flag!
My dad was a faithful man.
Faithfulness was one of the godly characteristics that led Nehemiah to choose Hananiah to lead his military. Without reservation I can say my dad was a faithful man. The Hebrew word for “faithful” here refers to one who is truthful, reliable, firm, and upright. Dad was a man who preached/spoke the truth, faithful to my mom and me, reliable on the job and in ministry, firm in his discipline, and lived with integrity.
My dad was a man who feared God.
Oh, for more men like Hananiah and my dad who lived their lives in reverence and awe of the majesty, power, holiness, love, and grace of God!!
So, on this Father’s Day, I am glad to honor my dad and to be known as the son of Robert Moris Cunningham, a man known of God, a soldier for Christ and America, a faithful man who feared God more than many to the end. See you in Glory, Dad!