There is something so remarkable about a father’s love for his children. The very most important aspect of it – is that it is representative of our Father in Heaven’s love for us. How we are loved by our earthly fathers greatly affects our perception of our Heavenly Father. Has he loved us unconditionally? Has he believed in us? Has he encouraged us? Is he proud of us? Has he been a gentle leader, modeling with his actions what he teaches us with his words? Has he shown his sons how to be a man, and told them that they have what it takes to be one? Has he instilled in his daughters confidence in their beauty and character? If it is easy to love and respect our earthly father, it will be easier to love and revere our Heavenly Father.
Growing up, I knew my daddy loved me. I would run out to meet him when he came home from work. He was affectionate. I would cuddle up with him in his big black armchair after he came home from work. He liked to spend time with me. I would go with him to the hardware and surplus stores (even though they weren’t my favorite) just to be with him. I love the smell of gasoline because it was a smell common to the garage, where I would hang out with him while he worked on cars or other projects. He was patient with me. He took time to talk to me when I had done wrong, and used teachable moments. He was merciful to me and offered grace when I came to him with probably the worst news a daughter could tell her dad – I was pregnant as an unwed teen. He has supported me emotionally and helped financially more times than I can count. He fixes anything and everything when he comes to visit. He has always been, and I know will always be – there for me.
This month my dad came for a long visit. One night I was doing the dishes and he came over and stared at me with his little squinty eyes. Normally, this means he is about to say something witty or corny (or a little of both). Bracing myself, I asked him,”What?” He replied,”It’s so nice seeing you being such a good woman.” Now my dad always tells me how proud of me that he is. He consistently praises me and my family. But this one really stuck out. It was one of those moments that I will remember forever. How it makes a child’s heart soar to have their father’s approval!
Fast forward to this past weekend. I had a conversation that just breaks my heart. A friend was tearfully telling me how her father ignores her, and has never approved of her. All she wants is his love and acceptance. The need never goes away. From birth until the day you leave this earth. My most eloquent, heartfelt words, or even the biggest hug I could offer would not make that hurt go away.
But God can, He can comfort us. He loves us and accepts us. He is the perfect father, waiting – desiring to take all our burdens, shame, and pain and turn them into joy!
And for those blessed with dads who have done a great job, let’s be thankful. They have paved the way; making it all the more easier to believe in a Heavenly Father that loves us even more than they do!
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1A