Heart of a Father
Time to reflect, time to consider. It's clear that for most of us, fathers and grandfathers are a big deal. But for some of us, a father is a very difficult person to identify anything positive with.
I love my dad, he’s an American classic. A real life success story, from humble beginnings and decades of hard work he managed to earn a professional degree and find success and influence as a well-respected Chiropractic Physician for over four decades. But there’s more to that story. He also lived his life with unimpeachable integrity, keeping his word when it hurt and making sure he finished what he started. As a man of faith, he remains tenaciously committed to my mother (for over 55 years now) and in following Christ. His example of character and attitude provided a strong home environment for my brother and me to learn and live from. We were fortunate.
Many of us didn’t have a stable or consistent father figure in our lives. Some of us experienced life as a kid with only a stressed out mom and an absentee dad or learned to fear their abusive fathers instead of love and admire them.
My heart aches for those who struggle to even conceive of a dad who would be a role model, someone who would cherish, accept and love them. The Bible provides us with a powerful illustration of the heart of a father and gives us some idea of how our heavenly father looks at his children.
Luke 15 – The Message
20-21 “When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’
22-24 “But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time.
The point is this: don’t let your painful memories or past experiences prevent you from experiencing the heart of your heavenly Father; He is waiting for you to take the chance to trust Him to be the dad you never had. He wants to protect and provide and affirm you in ways you’ve been longing for and couldn’t even articulate. His heart towards us is GOOD, His love for us cannot be shaken no matter what we’ve done or failed at or given up on in the past.
Dads, no matter how good or bad your personal parenting heritage may be, it’s my hope that you will make the leap and begin to trust that your heavenly Father can and will fill in all the uneven, broken and empty spaces in our spiritual and emotional hearts. Let Him begin to restore what was lost and renew in you what has yet to be formed, so we can become what we need to be, for our kids.
I admire and love my dad, and he has faithfully kept our family intact. But in the end, it's my relationship with my heavenly Father that provides me with the strength and stability I need to be the man God has called me to be and to love my kids and wife well.
If we as dads find that we may be leaving most of the parenting and faith “stuff” to our wives, I think we are dropping the ball at a time when we really need to be in the game.
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