Nearly 60 years ago my father built a modest cottage on Hutchins Lake in Fennville, Michigan. I spent most of my summers there while I was growing up. It’s where I learned to swim and water ski. It’s where I learned to paddle a canoe and row a boat with wooden oars. It’s where I learned to catch crabs, dig for worms, bait hooks, and catch fish. My children also enjoyed spending summer days at my parents’ cottage. And now my grandchildren are doing the same.
The cottage has stayed in our family for three generations, and the fourth generation is now building memories on the foundation of my father’s lakefront property. As I spent this past weekend there with my son’s family and watched my grandchildren catching fish off the dock, I knew how happy my father would be to know his great-grandchildren are enjoying the works of his hands. My father has been in heaven for 11 years, but I still feel his presence when I am there. Even though I can’t see him. I feel like his is with me on that land.
I am reminded of how we can sense God’s presence when we are in His creation, enjoying the works of His hands. God is always with me no matter where I am. But there is something about being in nature that ushers me into His presence and makes me feel close to Him.
My father’s cottage is a blessing to our family, but he also blessed us by being a godly man. He demonstrated what it means to be a man who loves and follows the Lord. He was a living example of how to treat a wife, children, and grandchildren. Like the morning waters of Hutchins Lake reflect the light of the sun, my father’s life was a reflection of the Son, shining brightly for his children and grandchildren to see.