As a Father

As a Father

“I can’t fix her,” ragged sobs shook the bed where we slept. For just a moment I thought I was home in Italy again where sometimes the earth trembled, but then I recognized the source of the tremors. Raw waves of terror rose from the core of my husband, the doctor, the architect, mechanic and fixer of all things broken.

“I can’t fix her.”

“Just as a father has compassion on his children, …”   Ps. 103:13 (NASB).

It is still tender to the touch, that spring of 2007, like a brand of fire stamped into our souls, or like a wound refusing to heal. In spite of the pain, revisiting also brings sweetness and a renewed grasp of my Father’s compassion.

We had neither slept nor been awake for a week. Fog swallowed all thought and movement, as our daughter slipped farther and farther into a medical quagmire. I remember waking that night from a deep pit of half-reality, prayer-saturated, sorrow-induced sleep to hear the wretched cries of my husband, her daddy.

“… So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. (NASB)…” 

Those who fear Him know Him. I never want to go through our daughter’s illness again, but I hope to never be apart from its blessings. I want to hug tight the trust of relationship, and open my hands of control. I want the fibers of my existence to embrace Him who knit His creation with love.

God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, the body His church all link like a Biblical thread to the sacred covenant of husband, of man and wife. Father-compassion points to the Author of love who loved His own from the beginning.

Fatherhood is so much greater than biological connection, its role broader than one lifetime or generation. Divinely placed male headship is not to be compromised by well meaning voices of those who do not fear Him.

Just as a father loves deeply…So the LORD.

Awash by thoughts of yesterday, of the past illness of a daughter, the scene in front of me unfolds like a poignant drama.

That simple gesture. I know it well.

My husband’s forehead puckers. He is in fix-it mode. He gently probes our grandson’s elbow, then one-handed, he peels open a bright bandaid and sticks it over the bloodied skin. Little boy hysteria swells like a siren.

“He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.” Ps. 147:3 (NASB).

The Fixer of hearts and Healer of souls invites the surrender of brokenness.

Wild sobs subside replaced by dog-like whimpering. It calms to mere sniffling. Miniature fingers reach to touch the bandaged soreness.  A smile belies hovering tears, their crystal raindrops glisten like jewels on chubby cheeks. Blue-eyed man and blue-eyed child search each other’s depths, noses touching, they smile.

I am grateful this Father’s Day for father tendernesses melded throughout the cords of my life. I am thankful for my father who is now with His Father, my husband, son and son-in-laws. They are men who have stepped up to their roles of responsibility recognizing it not as a right or dominance position but as an ordained placement. Unabashed maleness.

They are men not ashamed to be who God has created them to be, to take up the gauntlet, and to obey Christ the Head, to be husbands and fathers. I am indebted to them for meeting the challenge and leading their families to walk with Christ.

As a father weeps for his child in the dark night, the Binder of wounds is moved by the hurt of our souls. A hundred thousand bandages will never heal the deep pain or erase the scars of some of life’s hurts. But God reveals a glimpse of His glory in the shadow of suffering, and transforms tears like scattered gold.

My grandson’s ouch no longer stings. He forgets his wailing. He slides from the protective cover of his Grandpa and runs into the west, his arm raised whirling an imaginative lasso, his gait a hoofing gallop. On his raised elbow a neon green bandaid glows  bright.