The title “father” conjures up many emotions in people. We all have one, although some of us may have never known them, maybe we did, but it was a less than positive relationship. Some of us miss fathers that are no longer here and some may be a father themselves and have regrets about the job they’ve done. Even the best father in the crowd has days when he messes up and wishes he had remained patient, talked softer or listened closer. Despite each of our relationships with our earthly fathers we have a Heavenly Father who loves us perfectly, who is crazy about us despite our imperfections, who never gives up or runs out on us.
Every father is also a son who can learn from his perfect Heavenly Father how to lead, serve and model Christ’s love to their families in the nitty-gritty of daily life. I remember as a child our family didn’t have a whole lot of money. Goodwill was our go to store for clothing; it was very exciting when we had enough money to graduate to shopping at K-Mart! My dad worked extremely hard both at work and in the home to provide for us. I imagine that this was tiring and stressful, there were definitely times I could tell that was the case, but despite the limited funds and stress he made sure I got the sparkly jeans I was dying to have for my first day of 5th grade. When I was 16, disobeyed and took his van camping and then proceeded to back it into a tree, he didn’t fly off the handle when I called to inform him of my error in judgment. He showed mercy and restraint as he delivered the consequences and explained what I would be doing to repair the situation. As a young adult, he listened to me and let me cry on his shoulder after my first heart-break. When I felt I would never recover and I’m sure in hindsight, he knew I would, he showed tenderness towards me and just hugged me and told me he was sorry. It was just what I needed.
Just a few moments from my childhood that I remember in which my dad demonstrated to me not only his heart toward me, but gave me glimpses of God’s. Father’s, you have an immense responsibility to influence the hearts, minds and spirits of the lives of your children. You may mess up, no, you will mess up. I am not letting any cat out of the bag by telling you that my dad messed up, that he has regrets. It’s not about perfect, but it is about growth and progress about choosing today who you will serve, about saying I’m sorry when you get it wrong and demonstrating what humility and servant hood look like as you lead your family. It is NEVER too late to write a new story and make an impact, to learn more and do better, to be a father who gives your children ever-increasing glimpses of Christ’s heart towards them through you. What an opportunity and what a wonderful Heavenly Father you have as an example to follow. Happy Father’s Day!!