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)
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.