“Run, Son, Run!” – Why I’m returning to Japan after the death of my father

Yesterday was my father’s funeral, and a few folk have been asking me whether that has changed my long-term plans. Am I going back to Japan?

It’s a valid question. One that I have thought about myself. I spoke to my mum about it the other day and we decided that I will indeed go back to Japan, and soon. There’s a number of reasons why, but the one that feels most pertinent right now is this:

My dad would want me to.

Now we’ve had a lot of decisions to make these last couple of weeks, and many of them have involved trying to guess what my dad would have wanted. With many things it’s not easy to know. But in this instance I am without doubt (as is my mum): he would want me to go back.

You see throughout my life my dad was always my biggest cheerleader. He was unashamed in his support for me. Mostly in wonderfully embarrassing ways.

I shared at my the funeral about how he ran alongside me at races, screaming – and I mean screaming – at me to keep running. Even if it meant him running through – and I mean through – crowds, he’d be there cheering,

“Run, Son, run!”

That’s how he was: always encouraging me, in his unique and loud way.

And he was no different about my move to Japan.

On the day that I flew out he presented me with this T-shirt:

T-shirt with Japanese text

That’s Luke 3:22,

“You are my beloved Son. With you I am well pleased.”

It’s an amazing sentiment (I may have choked-up a bit when he gave it to me). But it’s a slightly embarrassing T-shirt to wear, for 2 reasons:

1. The quote is God talking about Jesus, so it’s a bit awkward to have it referring to me.

2. My dad got the Japanese by using google-translate . . .

Yeah, it’s a little bit off. Not crazy amounts, but enough to be kinda wrong.

But again, that’s the way my dad was. He didn’t mind risking mistakes if it would encourage me to keep running. He didn’t concern himself with what others would think, he would always be there cheering,

“Run, son, run!”

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to keep running.

Because not only did my dad give me encouragement to keep running forward, he also gave me an example to follow after. The example of persevering in following Jesus wherever He calls us. As I mentioned before, my dad wasn’t perfect: he stumbled and he fell, but he kept running after his Saviour.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

My dad’s race has come to an end, but mine has not. So I look forward to a life in Japan, as I listen to my dad cheering,

“Run, Son, run!”

Yes, Dad, yes I will.

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5 thoughts on ““Run, Son, Run!” – Why I’m returning to Japan after the death of my father

  1. katerina cooper

    Levi so glad you are going back to japan. What a wonderful dad you had. He has made you a man of faith by all his encouragement. May God bless your mum and all of you.God is so faithful.
    Paul Cooper mum

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  2. T-bear

    Levi.. you are ahead of me.
    I still remember your father in my heart because your father was very kind at me and showed me love when I visited you in Warrington. I know that is because Jesus is in him and with him. I felt so comfortable that It made me even cry and brought me more and more passion for Jesus.
    Your father is a great man. And I know where he is now.

    1 That Jesus is in you so.. And he is with Joe so..
    2 The Japanese is perfectly translated.

    Miss you. Praying for you and Jean.

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