It’s not hard to find the statistics. A child who grows up without an involved father has a much higher chance of being poor, having health problems, being incarcerated, abusing drugs and alcohol, becoming involved in teen sex, having less education, and much more.
We just passed Father’s Day. Many of you celebrated the memory or presence of a father who passed on a godly heritage, important values, and a readiness to take life on. Others of you were not celebrating: your earthly father was either absent, uninvolved, or abusive. One thing we all agree on – a father makes a difference!
I asked a large group of people, both men and women, this question: “What do you think is the most important thing a father can do for his children?” I was amazed at the large number of people who responded. And the answers fell clearly into two categories. A father should:
- Be a reflection of our Heavenly Father to his children.
- Spend time with his children.
Perhaps one reason so many people mentioned the time issue is because their own father didn’t spend that much time with them. As one friend noted, “Kids spell love … T-I-M-E!” If your earthly father never seemed to have time for you, you probably have a hard time believing your Heavenly Father has time for you now. He seems “out there,” far away, unreachable, untouchable. You may even have a difficult time with the concept of a Heavenly Father at all.
In reflecting on Father’s Day, here are some questions to think about:
- How did your experience with your earthly father influence how you see your Heavenly Father? Was he distant? Weak? Intrusive? Abusive? Protective? Caring? Unpredictable? Loving?
- Is that view accurate? Does how you feel about God in your heart line up with what you know of Him from Scripture, from others who know Him, and from how He has dealt with you?
If your earthly father was wonderful, be grateful. Honor and celebrate the gift he gave you. If he was less than wonderful, remember that your Heavenly Father is the only Father who will never disappoint you. He will stretch you, care for you, love you, and help you grow to be more than you ever thought you could be.
And if you are a father now, remember that you make a larger difference in your children’s lives than you probably even know. You’re not perfect: you don’t have to be. Just be there!
Your turn: How did your earthly father impact your relationship with God? In your own life, has God confirmed or changed your impression of Him that you received from your earthly father? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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