There’s so much I could say about my dad. I almost don’t know where to begin. First off, he is a sinner, saved by grace. He has loved and served Jesus since his youth. Because of his devotion to Jesus, I’ve never known abandonment. I’ve never known what it feels like to be ashamed of my dad. I’ve always felt accepted, loved, cherished, special, protected, and provided for. My dad is a man of honor, integrity, hard-work. He’s good-natured and I can’t think of anyone who dislikes him. He makes friends easily and has a great sense of humor. I’ve seen him be a father figure to the fatherless. I’ve watched him serve faithfully in many roles at church. He got involved in things my brother and I found interest in, even if is wasn’t his “thing”…he found something about it to like. He’s good with his hands and enjoys using his knowledge to help others…often for free and sacrificing his time. I am certain, without a doubt that when my dad meets his Lord face to face one day, he will receive a “well done, good and faithful servant.”
I don’t know who you are, reading this. Maybe your dad was the opposite of everything in that list. If that is true, I am so sorry. Dads are important. They have roles that no one else can truly fulfill. While I don’t know your pain, I know that the absence of a father would be painful…for that, I grieve with anyone who had a father who hurt, left, or just wasn’t loving of them. I don’t know if this post will be something encouraging for you or not…my prayer is it would be.
Maybe your dad was a lot like mine. Men like my dad seem to be a rarity in this day and age…but I know they are out there. If you relate with me…maybe what I’ve been learning lately will resonate with you.
Last fall our church was doing a sermon series on money. One Sunday our pastor was preaching on the passage in Matthew when Jesus is giving the Sermon on the Mount and He’s talking about how God clothes the flowers, cares for the birds…and we worry about our lives and how we shouldn’t because God cares more for us then birds and flowers. (Matt. 6:25-34)
As I thought about that passage it was almost as if God spoke to me and said “Why don’t you trust ME to provide for you?” I was a little taken aback by that word from Him. I thought “But I totally do! My father was/is an excellent example of you God! I DO trust You!” I’ve been in enough small groups in my life to know that when people have trouble trusting God, it’s usually because their earthly father was less then stellar. Obviously the “not trusting God” label could not be worn by me.
However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized…I don’t trust God because I have trouble viewing Him as my Heavenly Father. Then it struck me: my dad, my husband, my father-in-law…they are upstanding men of God…but they are who I turn to when I need to be provided for. And this is through no fault of their own, I often place them in God’s throne. This was my heart issue…and how do I deal with it?
I’ve spent the past few months dwelling on this fact about myself and trying to seek the face of God and really figure out what it means and looks like to have Him be my Heavenly Father. I’m still on this road…but moving away from my dad has really brought out a lot of this heart issue and helped me deal with it practically. Being far away from my dad has pretty much forced me to seek God as my Heavenly Father. I hadn’t realized before how much I ran to my earthly father, when I should first run to my Heavenly Father. He has blessed me with a wonderful earthly father…but He isn’t God and he isn’t in control. That authority belongs to God. He loves me more then my dad…which is unfathomable.
It’s easy for me to put my dad, husband, and father-in-law on a pedestal. I’ve come to see how often I place them in the spot where my Heavenly Father belongs. Earthly fathers are needed and so special. They teach us a lot about God after all. But we are to love God with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our minds, and with all our strength. (Mark 12:30)
You ask, practically, how have I learned I relied on my dad and not God? A recent example for you.
As I was driving the other day, my check engine light popped on. “Your.dad.isn’t.here.” Over and over I heard it in my head. Like the enemy was mocking me. I felt my heart race and tears welling up. I thought “I should pray.” I felt a little silly…praying for my car…but my Heavenly Father is in charge. He knows why the light is on and He can keep my car going. He reminded me to run to Him…even for car trouble.
I’ve been in many stores where I see men that remind me of my dad. Rather then appear insane and ask those men for hug because I miss my dad and they remind me of him…I pray and ask God to hold me. Sounds weird…but everytime I ask I feel intense peace, love, and comfort. My Heavenly Father loves me and provides me what I need. Do I feel a little silly for being almost 29 and just now learning this? Yeah. Am I glad I’m learning it? Yes.
Maybe you didn’t grow up with a great home life and don’t relate to me at all. Doesn’t matter. God, your Heavenly Father loves you. He provides. He is trustworthy. Maybe you’re a lot like me and grew up in the church with a wonderful home life. Your dad might be amazing, but he’s not God. God is your Heavenly Father. He provides. He is the Rock, the Anchor, the Shield. Thank God for the blessing of your father, but look to Him for your needs.
I’m grateful my dad, husband and father-in-law would agree with me that God should be honored and worshiped above all. He alone deserves to be exalted and placed on a pedestal. Thank You Heavenly Father for loving me and making Your love more and more evident.
Oh, and Happy Father’s Day dad. I miss you like crazy. Are you serious? (sorry…inside joke.)