Happy Our Father’s Day!

Father’s Day is coming up in England, as shown by the plethora of mugs, whisky bottles and Darth Vader t-shirts cramming the shelves of our supermarkets.

darth vader father

Cue the cutesy cards, those making fun of their aged parent – and the mixed feelings about fatherhood.  For those who’ve grown up with a close relationship with their fathers, this is all well and good – for others, tinged with sadness or worse, resentment.

My father died when I was 12. At that age I was too young to really comprehend the reality – or the finality – of that.  Before that, to a great extent not to any fault of his own, I wasn’t close to my dad.  He belonged to a different age – when parents didn’t lavish attention on their children – when he perhaps hadn’t had this lavished on him, so what model did he have by which to gauge his interactions with us?  I think he was proud of me before he died – particularly when I got my music exams or joined a youth orchestra. I hope he is now.

Not that this is a plea for pity, not at all.  I was not deprived; I received love, and even dad, I am sure, tried to love me in his own way.  But this had repercussions as I was growing up – how did I relate to a ‘Father God’ when my relationship with my own father had been distant at best?  I could only picture a God who wasn’t actively interested in me, prone to anger, me needing to tread on eggshells around him.  My early church-life had led me to believe that the Christian life was like walking a tightrope – one step off and you plunged into an abyss.

So when I encountered crisis in my life – and NEEDED a Father God – my conception was faulty.  Verses like: ‘Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand’ (Isaiah 64: 8 NIV) left me cold, they certainly couldn’t reach me emotionally.  Who was this ‘our Father’ that I was praying to when I recited the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6)?

It was only later, after counselling relating to other matters / events in my life, that I learnt to reconcile myself with my father. I learnt to forgive him for not having been the father that I would have wanted, to accept that he had been as good a father as he was able to be and to acknowledge that our concept of God as father has to go far beyond the earthly model we have in this life.  Among other characteristics of a human father:

  • God is not just loving, He is love supreme: I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever’ (Psalm 52:8 NIV)
  • He is not just forgiving, He blots out our sins when we acknowledge them to Him:
    ‘I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more’ (Isaiah 43:25 NIV)
  • He is not just wise, he is Wisdom personified: ‘Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!’ (Romans 11: 33, NIV)
I love seeing my girls with their father – he is so hands-on with them, so interested in their lives.  He loves them, grounds them and makes them feel secure. All the things that God can do for us.
Some lyrics of a song by Graham Kendrick that always speaks to me:

O father of the fatherless
In whom all families are blessed
I love the way you father me
You gave me life, forgave the past
Now in your arms I’m safe at last
I love the way you father me

Father me, forever you’ll father me
And in your embrace I’ll be forever secure
I love the way you father me
I love the way you father me

When bruised and broken I draw near
You hold me close and dry my tears
I love the way you father me
At last my fearful heart is still
Surrendered to your perfect will
I love the way you father me

If in my foolishness I stray
Returning empty and ashamed
I love the way you father me
Exchanging for my wretchedness
Your radiant robes of righteousness
I love the way you father me

And when I look into your eyes
From deep within my spirit cries
I love the way you father me
Before such love I stand amazed
And ever will through endless days
I love the way You father me

Graham Kendrick
Copyright © 1992 Make Way Music,
http://www.grahamkendrick.co.uk

So this Father’s Day, let’s celebrate our fathers.  They don’t always get the best press in this world and yes, they’re not always (or ever) perfect.  But they mirror a love on this earth that God offers us through all eternity.

Let’s support those who, for whatever reason, are not able to be the father that God intended them to be.  This may take a little while or may take a lifetime.  It may need challenging words or loving example, or possibly both.

Let’s reach out to the fatherless or those whose conceptions of fatherhood are so badly distorted by their own experiences and point them to the Father above.

And even more, let’s celebrate Our Father, whose love will never, ever let us go.

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About francesgabriel75

Just thinking out loud about faith, children and church. Born in Dorset but now living too far away from the sea, which still calls to me, occasionally. Make my living in the world of education.
This entry was posted in Authentic Christianity and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Happy Our Father’s Day!

  1. Annie Yoho says:

    Beautiful tribute to fathers, Frances! I’m not familiar with the Graham Kendrick song — thank you for sharing it.

    • Thank you. It’s a lovely song. I do want to celebrate fathers … but for those who have a slightly chequered relationship with their fathers I wanted to lift up Our Father too.

  2. Reblogged this on Walking the talk and commented:

    For Father’s day – time to revisit.

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