It was the day after Christmas in 2011. My family and I were loading into the car to head out for a day of adventure when I got a call from my sister. “Hey Heather”, she said, “I wanted to let you know that dad died last night”. The tone is her voice wasn’t sad, it was more…informative. I laughed and said something like, “really funny, Holly”. But she assured me that she was being very serious.
At that moment I was speechless. I mean, we knew that he was sick, but the doctors seemed to think that he had a few more years left. I just stood in my driveway, staring at my family who were all waiting in the car, and a flood of questions went through my mind. I was overwhelmed, but I couldn’t cry. You see I wasn’t really very close with my dad. It wasn’t because he was a bad father. I actually had a pretty good childhood. My family wasn’t perfect, and we certainly had our issues, but my dad did the best he could. He himself had a lot issues and to the best of my knowledge he had never accepted Jesus. He had made it clear that he had absolutely no interest in hearing about my faith. That was when we really started to drift apart. I was 12. I try not to think about that too often because it honestly breaks my heart. But that’s not the point I want to make
The point is that most of us have some type of “daddy issue”. Some of you never knew your father, other’s might have had a strained, painful relationship, or even experienced abuse and neglect. Some of you might have had an amazing dad! I rejoice with you! God knows how important a father is in our lives. He himself hand picked an earthly father for his Son.
Whether you had a wonderful dad growing up or not, God is the most amazing Father you could ever ask for! He loves you, protects you, provides for you, teaches you, helps you, disciplines and molds you! He does everything that we expect our earthly fathers to do for us. That’s the problem. There is an expectation placed on our dad’s to be all of these things for us and when they fall short we accuse them, sometimes blame them for our shortcomings. I’m not denying that for some of you, your experiences growing up have caused brokenness and there is much healing and forgiveness that needs to take place in your hearts. But I want to encourage you to look at our dads with different lenses. Let’s look at them as sons of our Heavenly Father. Imperfect, needing grace.
We have a tendency as humans to compare the character of God the Father with the character of our earthly fathers. In ways that our dads fell short we somehow believe God will too. We limit God based on our experiences with our dads. But Instead of being disappointed in them…we need to honor them…regardless of who they are or what they’ve done. It may not make them better, or do much to change your relationship, but God tells us in his word, to honor our fathers. He doesn’t say to honor them if they are good men. We are to honor them regardless. By doing so we are demonstrating God’s immense love for us! Who knows, it might be the catalyst to God doing something amazing in his heart. Regardless, it will do a work in your heart.
Some of you, like me, have dads who are no longer with us. When I’m asked if I have any regrets in life, I say I have just one. That I didn’t honor my dad more. Perhaps if I had, it might have softened his heart and allowed him to be more open to talking about Jesus. Regardless, I wish I had more time with him. But even though I no longer have an earthly father to honor this Father’s day, I’m truly thankful for my awesome Heavenly Daddy!