I Will Be a Father to You

She sat on my daughter’s bed, bent forward and fumbling with the gadget on her lap, a thin white line connected it to her ear. Even though I stood across the room, I could hear the music throb. Long black tresses shadowed her face like fingers hiding her eyes, concealing emotion. She yanked one of the earphones out. It dangled across her shoulder, the other still in her ear. Blue eyes raised to mine.

“I don’t want to go today,” she said.

“Hey,” her mom had warned a few days before her arrival. Father’s Day is rough for her, just so you know.”

Her week-long visit encompassed the weekend of Super-Dad Sunday. Only for her it wasn’t super at all. It scraped against bruises from a dad whose issues had brought deep pain into her, the kind that takes a lifetime to heal, and maybe eternity.

Church started in a half hour, but she sat cross-legged in pajamas, while the Sunday morning rush was in earnest a floor above.

“Is it ok if I just stay here while you go?”

…and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Cor. 6:18 (ESV)

My kids have had a super dad, my husband had a good dad. I had a good dad, and the kids and spouses are doing great at dad-ing. But I know in the complexity of family life, not everyone approaches Father’s Day with that experience. Not everyone bridges the gap in their minds and emotions smoothly from earthly-dad to Heavenly Father.

…and I will be a father to you…

I don’t know how easily the Apostle Paul bridged the gap from an earthly father to God as Father, but as a Hebrew scholar, he grasped the significance of God’s choosing a people for His own. He knew God the Father ardently desired to be present with them. The importance of the temple as a sacred meeting place to meet God was ingrained in his thinking.

and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

But the intimacy of relationship, with his Heavenly Father was not personal until He knew Jesus, God’s Son.

Paul’s words, from the prophet Jeremiah are precious words from a man who had at one time violently opposed the gospel and denied God With Us, Immanuel. It testifies of a human temple and an indwelling Spirit. It reminds us on Father’s Day and everyday that God Himself is our Father and He loves and cares for His children. It infuses us with hope and awe.

I am His child. He is my Father.

Whatever Father’s Day is like for you, regardless of the memories it stirs, or nostalgia it pours into your memory, Father’s day is not only appreciation for the man who had a pretty big part in our existence. It’s also the blessed assurance that if we know Christ, we’re connected with our heavenly Father for all eternity.

After we talked a bit that Sunday, the girl with the long black hair and big blue eyes decided to go to church with us. Lined up together like a family with another child adopted in for the day, I looked down at the open Bible in her lap. And in a sweet gesture, she pointed out to me one of her favorite verses for Father’s Day. Her finger pointed to Psalm 68:5.

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.Psalm 68:5 (NIV)

I’m grateful I have a relatively simple path from earthly Father to my concept of God as my Heavenly Father. Still, the girl on my daughter’s bed is proof that the glorious redemption of Almighty God is always more than miraculous.

13 Replies

  1. J.D. Wininger Reply

    I pray this doesn’t sound too strange to you Ms. Sylvia, but I’ve long said “My Father awaits me in heaven. The Dad He gave me has a home there too.” I never really knew my true biological father; met him a few times. My adopted dad, however, more than made up for it. It was he who helped introduce me to our Father.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      It sounds precious. Thank you so much. Grateful how God provided for you. I appreciate you taking time to read and comment.

  2. Nancy E Head Reply

    It’s so sad that our society doesn’t see the importance of fathers and fails to adequately prepare so many boys to become good ones. So glad she went and saw that scripture.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks for reading and responding Nancy. Indeed the world would be different if fathers understood well the impact of raising children to love their heavenly Father.

  3. Jimmie Reply

    Amen. Very timely. I shared it on Facebook and Twitter.

  4. Eva F. Olfert Reply

    Sylvia, I listened to Focus on the Family this morning and had a long cry. My Dad was so good to me and I have wonderful memories of the person he truly was. So thankful to know that he is with his Savior and that is where I’m headed at almost 89 1/2. What a trip it has been and I can’t even imagine what it would have been without the one I follow, namely Jesus Christ. When people ask me if I’m a Christian I always say “yes, but more importantly I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. That either ends or begins a long conversation. God bless you and Phil as you both minister to so many. God bless you as you celebrate Father’ Day. We will do that here too.
    Love, Eva Fadenrecht Olfert

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Aunt Eva. I am always honored you take the time to read and respond. Grateful for fathers that represent well our Heavenly Father.

  5. Candyce Reply

    This is beautiful. I’m lucky I had a wonderful earthly father too. . This opens my heart to those who do not.

  6. Souzan Ghareeb Reply

    Nice article and beautiful reminder of our Heavenly Father. Our earthly fathers need our prayers always saved or not. I want to encourage everyone. My dad refused to accept Jesus for a long time. Me and my sisters made a commitment to pray and fast. Three days before my dad died. He accepted the Lord, apologized to all of us including mom for not being the father that he could have been even though he provided our needs but not emotional needs. Now he is waiting for me in heaven.
    “Pray without ceasing”

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you so much Souzan for that testimony! What a wonderful answer to prayer. I’m so grateful Jesus’ mercies never fail and your dad came to Christ before he died. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  7. Jeannie Waters Reply

    Sylvia, thank you for a wonderful picture of our heavenly Father. I love the way you described the way God loves and cares for us: “It infuses us with hope and awe.”