Father’s Day is a time to honor our fathers–and fatherhood as a whole. For some this is a time to express the love and gratitude to their fathers. It’s a time of joy.
For others, Father’s Day is a bit awkward. We have mixed feelings about it because there were aspects of our relationship with our fathers that are very painful to remember. Perhaps we can remember some good things, but we can’t forget the things which make “Father’s Day” difficult.
For those of us who claim the name of the Christ this is even more difficult. Like many, when I came to the Lord and began hearing about “Our Loving Father In Heaven”, the images that came to mind didn’t bring about peace, comfort and joy.
I struggled with this. “Father” wasn’t an image I wanted to hold in my mind, especially with regard to the God who had saved me, forgiven me, and adopted me. But there it was. He was my “Father”.
Then the Lord gave me a way of understanding this idea of “Father”. He made me one. My first child had been born about eight hours before. In those days we didn’t know if our child was a boy or girl until they greeted us with the physical proof. We had names for both a boy and a girl. Then the baby was here. I looked at Donna’s face and said, “It’s Josh!”. (Ok, I probably choked it out). I spent the day with my new family–Donna and Josh. Then they told me I had to leave (yes, they kicked the dads out at night in those days).
I left the hospital, got into my car, and turned on the radio. As I left the parking lot, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young came on singing “Teach Your Children Well”. I was so grateful I had to tell God–and thank him for making me a father. Then it hit me. I’m a father. How could I be a father? One of those guys I had such mixed feelings about? Then the Lord hit me over the head with the realization that HE IS FATHER. We–my father, me, and now my son and sons-in-law, are all just humans attempting to reflect God’s perfect love and commitment to His children. God isn’t the Father I had. He isn’t the Father I was. He is the Father I always wished I could be. The Perfect Father.
This Father’s Day I celebrate Fathers. After coming to the Lord, and my father coming back to him, I had the chance to talk with him about these things and begin to understand him. I learned that, as hard as it was to be his son, if I had started out with the same cards he had been dealt I doubt I would have done as well. I’ve had the privilege of watching my son Josh and sons-in-law Russ and Ty become fathers to eleven grandchildren, and I have the comfort and peace of knowing that they are great fathers who reflect THE FATHER in their lives to the best of their abilities. I celebrate the joy of being a father to Josh, Sarah and Kara–without a doubt the most important ministry I’ve ever had.
Bu on Father’s Day I celebrate fatherhood: THE FATHER. He is everything we always wanted and wanted to be, and He has given us the amazing right to be called His Children. He loves me. He forgives me. He teaches and trains me to be mature–like Him. He has made me a mirror of His love–albeit one of those imperfect mirrors you see in carnivals. That’s what Fatherhood is, and what we celebrate on Father’s Day.
I hope you have the ability to just rejoice in the relationship and love you have with your father. But if you don’t, look to THE FATHER, and be grateful for Fathers.
Happy Father’s Day.