This coming Sunday is Father’s Day. In honor of the occasion, I am dedicating this week’s blog post to the fathers, both natural and spiritual. What do I mean by that? Well, there are the fathers we have through birth or adoption or family blending. But there are other father figures we can be blessed to know. These men may or may not be related to us. They act as mentors, examples, and role models for us as we’re growing up and even in our adult years. They look out for us. They care for us. They try to keep us on the right path in life.
Father’s Day can be difficult for some. There are those of us whose father is no longer with us. There are others who may never have known their father. Others may not have a healthy or good relationship with their father.
This will be the third year celebrating Father’s Day with Dad in heaven. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. I still find myself thinking, “What should I get Pops?” whenever there’s a commercial on TV. Pops was a tough customer. Buying presents for him was always challenging. He had simple tastes and didn’t really get into the latest and greatest tech devices or anything like that. How many shirts and ties can you buy one man? Recently, we were cleaning out his and Mom’s closet. I believe we found 252 ties (only a slight exaggeration). We came across many boxes of sweaters, shirts and such that he never even wore once. No one was surprised.
I have some of his clothes now. I tried to pick items that he had worn because that made them more special to keep. But I won’t lie; I believe I have some items that still have tags on them. That was my Dad: a simple yet complex man.
In case it hasn’t become abundantly clear, I am and always will be a Daddy’s little girl. I would venture to say that all three of his daughters would proudly claim that title. Our Dad was very special and way ahead of his time. He was extremely intelligent without being arrogant. He was funny, sweet, kind. He raised his girls to be capable and independent, yet we frequently desired his wisdom and advice. I rarely made any major life decisions without seeking his counsel first. I didn’t always heed his wise words, but I always ran things by him. I miss having him here as a sounding board, ready to give sober assessment of my latest crazy life adventure.
Dad was our hero. Some called him Superman. I thought of him more as Sherlock Holmes (minus the violin and opium addiction). Like Holmes, Pops was usually the smartest person in any room. He could decipher any mystery, fix any problem, and remember every detail from history to the present. He had such a sly wit and truly embraced his dry sense of humor. He enjoyed teasing us, bluffing during family game time, and telling a tall tale. Eventually, I learned to check his blue eyes to see if he was fibbing. He had a great poker face, but the twinkle in those beautiful baby blues would give him away.
I remember when I was about 11 or 12 years old: the age of awkwardness. My hormones are everywhere, I look weird, and I’m getting too grown to sit on Dad’s lap. I desperately wanted to build a stronger connection with him. It wasn’t that he was distant, but I saw how he and my brother would sit and watch sports together and laugh and joke. I wanted to laugh more with my Dad too.
And one day it happened. I don’t remember the specific incident, whether I was telling a silly story or joke or just acting goofy. But I remember that Pops smiled and laughed. That was it for me. I think I spent the rest of my days with him doing whatever I could to make him laugh. I would give anything to have one more opportunity to make him smile.
I was fortunate to never struggle with understanding how God is our Father and how much He loves us. My Dad set a beautiful example. I do understand, however, that many people will never know the love of a good father here on earth. That is a sad truth. Father’s Day can be a painful reminder of that reality for some.
I’ve known people whose fathers were absent or abusive or died way too young. I’ve known some people whose fathers were around but not present. Their dads would work all day, come home, gulp down a meal with their family, and then they were off to their workshop or garage or office.
Since my Dad passed I find myself leaning even more on my Father in heaven. My prayers often resemble the chats I once had with Dad. And, yes, I want God’s counsel before I make a move, but I don’t always listen to Him either. Consistency!
How can I feel close to a Father I can’t see or touch?
You may not believe me, but there have been times where I close my eyes and I can feel Him all around me. I get a sense of peace and warmth that words cannot describe. The closest example I can give of how it feels is like when I was little and would snuggle up on my Dad. I feel safe and secure. I feel loved. As I think about how much I love Him and, more importantly, how much He loves me (and you), I can be overcome by such a feeling of hope and love. Whatever was stressing me out and making me anxious or upset starts to fade away. I just feel His love.
How do I start to build a relationship with God?
We human beings are so good at making things complicated. Yes, the whole concept of God is kind of mind-blowing and existential. I’ll give you that. But God simplified it by giving us the Bible. (You knew I was going to bring the Book into the conversation. I always do.) That is the best way to start to know your heavenly Father.
If you doubt that God is your Father and loves you, good. I always come with receipts. I challenge you to read and reread these verses and see if they inspire or encourage you. Spoiler alert: He won’t neglect or reject you.
All verses are from the NIV version at biblegateway.com, emphasis added.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18)
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1)
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. (Psalm 68:5)
This Father’s Day I ask you to take a moment and consider that, regardless of your relationship with your natural father, you always have a Father who loves you unconditionally. He will be with you through everything. You are His child no matter what. Nothing can separate you from His love. He sent His Son Jesus to come and pay the price for all the sins that humanity ever has or will do. All that is required of you is to accept that precious Gift of redemption, restoration, and pure love. If you ask me, that’s something you can’t put a price tag on, and it’s way better than any shirt and tie.
Happy Father’s Day.
Until next time: stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know.
Look forward to hearing from you,