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My father stood next to me, his hair no longer jet-black, streaked with the silver that four daughters can give a man. I don’t know what he was thinking, but he smiled at me as his eyes sparkled with tears, “You look beautiful,” and I felt radiant. My father, my daddy, reached for my hand and we bowed our heads in prayer. His voice trembled as we worshipped before walking down the aisle where he would give my hand to my husband.

Looking back, I realize with deep regret how often I had not given respect to my father, how I had rolled my eyes, considered him incapable of understanding. I didn’t always ask him to understand me, didn’t try to make it easy for him. On countless mornings he stood next to my bed to try to encourage me to step out in faith though my body was gripped by chronic migraines and depression. I never knew how badly I hurt him when I gave up, when I retreated into the pain. But he didn’t give up on me. He continued to help me find different ways to try to heal; from doctors, to medication, to walks at night, to a week-long prayer-session. And I did get well, my mind began to clear as I began to have faith that there was hope. This man who persevered taught me to trust that though God allows, even causes pain at times, He alone can heal, make us better than new.

My father walked me down the aisle he had always been walking me down. The truth is, he set the standard for every man in my life. In my eyes, he was the tallest, the strongest, most faithful, godly man I’d ever met. One day, I know he will stand before God and when God examines how he cared for me, I know God will see that though my dad was not perfect, he was a good dad who have me a proper view of God. Because of him, I can read the story of the prodigal son returning to a father watching and waiting for his son’s return, running unashamed to his son. I have the kind of father and so I know that God loves me in that way.

Father’s Day is often painful for those who have been abandoned and for those who have lost their fathers. I cannot imagine the pain of these wounds and it would be to trite to simply say, “Let God be your father.” Words cannot heal you, only God can, and it often takes a lifetime. What astounds me is that a lifetime is not too long for this Father-God of ours to express His devotion to us. Each word in the Bible tells of His remarkable love. I don’t understand it all, but having the gift of a father who sacrificed himself daily for my family, I can better picture who God is.

How has your relationship with your earthly dad affected the way you view God?

For further meditation:
Luke 15:1-32; Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20-21

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