Many years ago, the church I happened to be serving at the time hosted a presbytery meeting (the periodic regional gathering of elders and pastors from our denomination). As the host church pastor, I had the unique role of planning and helping to lead worship for my colleagues – including giving the sermon on that day. Choosing a topic for that august group can be a daunting task. I mean, who wants to preach to a room full of preachers?
Well, since I’m a “go big or go home” kinda guy, I ultimately decided to take a big risk and speak on the theme of the fatherhood of God. That may not sound like much to some, but with that particular group at that particular time in history it sort of was. The running refrain in some Christian circles in those days was to avoid the topic altogether because so many people were carrying around deep wounds from their relationships with their earthly fathers. It didn’t make sense, so the thinking went, and could even be harmful to talk about the nature of God using the metaphor of a father.
I understood those concerns well and was certainly sensitive to the hurt that many of us carry around from the broken relationships we’ve had with our fathers (and mothers). But, as one of those baggage-laden people I had come to understand just how important it was to embrace that metaphor in a positive sense and to claim as my very own the beautiful strength of calling God “Father” – the only perfect father! Some received the message I shared well – others not so much. Many, however, thanked me for having the courage to stick close to the historical, Biblical metaphor of relating to God as a perfect Father who has the ability to heal our earthly father-wounds.
The month of June finds us once again with an opportunity to celebrate our dads on Father’s Day. Like Mother’s Day last month, this can be both an occasion for great rejoicing or it can resurrect painful memories from our past. Nevertheless, we can all be filled to overflowing with gratitude that God is the perfect parent for us. Christian singer-songwriter, Audrey Assad, sings from God’s unique perspective in her song, Wherever You Go. She sings, “Fathers & mothers don’t always a come through, but I’m never gonna stop following you.” Thankfully, that is so wonderfully true! His persistent, unconditional, lavish love is always seeking us out. He longs to bring healing, wholeness, and joy to our lives in abundant measure.
He’s the best “Dad” any of us could ever hope for!
For those of us who are earthly fathers, we are all-too-aware of how easy it is to fall short in our role as a father. We make mistakes. We’re distracted. We say things we wish we could take back. We sometimes grow impatient or even lose our temper. I am so grateful that the grace of our Heavenly Father is more than sufficient for the needs of our children. When we can’t be the perfect father we have one who is and promises to be not just for us, but for our kids as well.
Join me as a fellow imperfect father as I seek to more closely follow in the footsteps of the One whom Scripture invites us to call, Abba (Daddy)! Happy Father’s Day!!!