Father’s Day in the Caney house is always pretty emotional. When I say emotional I don’t mean that everyone is sitting around crying- I mean that there are tons of stuffed emotions that seem to come to fruition. You may or may not know this, but my husband lost his own earthly father at the age of nine. I remember him telling me this right after we started dating. It was like he had this deep scabbed over wound that had never really healed properly. Falling in love with him from day one, I sort of absorbed some of that pain into my own self. When he would hurt I would hurt. I never saw him as a project or a lost puppy, but I did see him as someone a broken heart. I thought if I loved him enough, I could heal that scathing wound. If I could have one wish in this world, it would be for my husband to have more time with his earthly father.
As for my own Father, it has taken me being an adult to realize his greatness. He was told he would never be able to have children, then I came into the world and changed his life. His love for me has always shone through, even in the not-so-perfect times. Growing up we were in the Army. We were blessed enough that we didn’t move every two years like some, but we still had to relocate a handful of times. My dad worked his way from up from nothing to a Physician Assistant– supporting himself financially every step of the way. As pre-teen I remember all the nights my dad spent studying in the basement for grad school. As a teen, I remember going to work with him on Take Your Daughter to Work day and being so proud of my dad for all his hard work. I also remember being a terribly disrespectful young adult who thought the world revolved me and used my words as weapons to try to prove it. Our life may have not fit into the stereotypical box, but through it all my dad was a model of self-discipline, determination, focus, and the importance of education. Those are the things that now matter to me as an adult.
Maybe growing up you had an awesome dad? Maybe your dad made you pancakes every Saturday and took you to the park every day after work. Maybe he bought you an awesome first car and gave you cash for dates. Or maybe you had an awful dad? Maybe your dad was never there physically, emotionally, or financially. Maybe you had an abusive father who knocked you and your siblings around for fun. Maybe you never knew your dad, maybe he left before you were born. Maybe you are like my husband and lost your dad way too soon with no one to give you pearls of wisdom at graduation or before your wedding. Maybe you had an awesome dad but your husband doesn’t hold a candle to him. Maybe you wish your husband could be more like the loving, gently father you had? Maybe your husband is a terrible dad.
Who knows? The common thread that all of us have is that our earthly fathers are just that– earthly. Being born of their first father Adam, they were born into a sin nature. Paul tells us in Romans 7:18 “I know that no good dwells in me, this is, in my flesh,”. He reminds us that anything in us apart from the Spirit of God living within us, is of the flesh. ‘Of the flesh’ = not good. It may sound shocking to you that there is actually nothing good in us. But when we finally humble ourselves to this reality, it’s much easier to fathom how immeasurable the glory, love, work, and grace of God truly is.
When we finally accept that man– all earthly men– are not perfect, we don’t have to be let down any longer. We don’t have to long for that father we never had because we can see He is right in front of our face. God is the only perfect Father. He carries you, grieves with you, holds you, and atones for you. You are his wonderfully beloved son or daughter, with whom he is well pleased. If you’ve never heard the story of Hagar, Abraham’s concubine, I highly suggest you read it in detail. (Genesis 16 & Genesis 21) Becca Version: Abraham and Sarah were too old to procreate and fertility in Bible times was super important. So Sarah told Abraham to get with Hagar, her servant to try to conceive. Of course Hagar got preggo right away. Hagar thought she was hot stuff and grew contempt for her mistress, even though Sarah had told her to sleep with Abraham. So Sarah had her removed from town. Hagar was left alone to raise her fatherless child. An angel of the Lord appeared to her and told her to go back and apologize to Sarah and he would continue to multiply her offspring. In all this loneliness and with her bastard child, she was still was comforted by the Lord and obeyed.
So she called on the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”– Genesis 16:13
In 2 Corinthians Paul reminds us this…
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
I pray that, regardless of you earthly Father, you find peace in those words.