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When Relationships Take Time

When Relationships Take Time

I didn’t meet my biological father until I was 30 years old. As a child, I always wondered what it would be like to have a dad, to call someone dad, or to be called son. There was no stable father figure in my life whatsoever. I had a stepfather, but he never had one positive much less loving word to say to me. He always made sure everyone knew that I was his stepson when introducing me and his biological children.

As a young boy, I wanted to know what it would be like to say the word “daddy” out loud, so I would get in the corner of my closet with the door shut and say “daddy” over and over again in a quiet voice. I couldn’t even picture a face while saying that word because I had never seen my father and didn’t even know his true identity. Up until I was 30 years old, I believed my father to be a man named Lee Tate, but I came to find out that my real father was Don Wisdom.

I met my father for the first time at a Shoney’s restaurant in Tennessee. For about an hour, we made our way through introductions, pleasantries, and general information. It was awkward to say the least. I didn’t have the slightest clue as to how a meeting like that should go. Before we said our goodbyes that day, Don told me that he was dying. He had lived a hard life and his poor choices and unhealthy lifestyle had caught up to him. Thankfully, he had gone to a church service a few years back and given his life to Christ.

I wish I could say that I was able to spend the last five years of Don’s life getting to know him and developing a close relationship with him, but that wasn’t the case. He had a family of his own who knew nothing at all about me. In fact, I had siblings who were close in age to me, because Don already had a wife and kids when he spent a few nights with my mother. He didn’t want them to find out about me, so we only talked over the phone, met at restaurants occasionally, and sent mail to and from his work address. I didn’t meet my half-siblings until after Don passed away.

While I wasn’t able to spend much time with my father those last five years, I was able to learn a good bit about him. As I got to know his personality and learned some of his mannerisms, certain aspects of my personality became clear. Don had been a professional gambler most of his life and had made a pretty good living because he was great at memorizing cards and analyzing numbers. God gave me a great memory like my father but instead of gambling, I’ve been able to memorize large passages of scripture and recall names and situations rather easily. I’m also really good with numbers, which allows me to memorize dates and phone numbers. People always think it’s crazy that I don’t have anyone’s number stored in my phone because I can remember phone numbers so easily. Being really good at remembering dates helps me to remember birthdays, anniversaries, and even the specific dates when people have lost a loved one. See, God can give the same ability to many people, but it's our responsibility to use them for His glory.

Don and I may have never developed a close relationship by any means, but I grew to know my father a little more with every conversation and every meeting. As I learned more about him, I understood more about me. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with him on earth, but I’m grateful that we get to spend eternity together!

When it comes to knowing the Holy Spirit, you have to get to know Him the same way people develop relationships. I know that I’m not some super influential person who says “do this” and people blindly jump on board. While we do live in a culture of social media influencers telling everyone what to wear, where to eat, the right products to buy, and the best programs to follow, my motives have never been to influence choices but to inform with Truth. I don’t want people to seek Jesus because it’s trending or try to develop a relationship with the Holy Spirit because it’s a hot topic. I want people to have a true understanding of Him in order to choose for themselves. It must be something a person willingly enters into if it’s going to be a lasting decision.

For some people, that means you are learning about the Holy Spirit for the very first time because you’re either not a Christian or are new to Christianity. For others, that means you are truly learning about the Holy Spirit after years of sporadically hearing about Him in church services, Sunday school classes, and worship songs. Regardless of where you stand, I hope you will come to know the Holy Spirit instead of just knowing about Him. There must come a time when what you’ve learned becomes more than knowledge because you put it to the test.

To read more from Benny Tate’s ‘Unlimited,’ visit

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