It was an “aha” moment when I finally began to grasp what made my dad tick.
One day, shortly after I graduated from college, a young reporter from a Christian magazine came to interview my dad. “Dr. Bright,” he said, “could you share a problem you face that the average Joe Christian can relate to?”
“I don’t have any problems,” my dad replied with quiet confidence. The reporter responded, “Dr. Bright, don’t over-spiritualize. We all have problems.” Suppressing his frustration, the reporter repeated the question several different ways, always receiving the same response.
Finally, my dad looked him directly in the eye and said, “Young man, you need to understand something. I am a slave of Jesus. It is not the slave’s responsibility to be successful, but simply to do what the Master asks. When you understand this, you will realize you don’t have problems. All that’s left are opportunities to see the Master work.”
At that moment, it hit me: My dad actually believed with every fiber of his being what he had just said. That experience created a seismic paradigm shift in my thinking that eventually sunk in and changed my life. The true genius of Bill Bright was his view of God.
The reporter didn’t get what he wanted that day, but sitting in the background, I got what I needed. For years I had watched my dad respond to challenging circumstances and gut-wrenching decisions with a peace and confidence that defied reason. I admired, respected and loved my dad, but I knew I could never be like him … until that day. It’s not that I wanted to “be” Bill Bright; we’re two very different men. But I can daily become a slave of Jesus just like he did. I can live life problem-free, full of opportunities to see God work.
Today, I have learned to ask two questions whenever a “problem” comes along: First, “Am I going to choose to believe this is a problem, or an opportunity to see God work?” If I am still struggling to believe that it is truly an “opportunity,” then I ask myself this follow-up question: “What attribute of God am I struggling to believe is true in this situation?”
I haven’t arrived yet, but the journey begun that day has revolutionized my life. Thanks, Dad, for choosing to be a slave of Jesus and modeling for me what it looks like to have a huge view of our magnificent God! Brad Bright