My dad pretty much never poses for pictures and my mom would kill me if I post the one family photo I do have on my computer, hence Stock Photo of Man Staring Contemplatively into the Middle Distance.
It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Compassion Bloggers post, so I’m glad I caught this month’s prompt. In celebration of Father’s Day, we were asked to answer three questions:
What would the ideal day with your Heavenly Father look like?
If you had an hour alone with God and could ask Him only one question, what would it be?
And with Father’s Day right around the corner…
What’s that one day or one moment with your earthly father that stands out?
The best part about these questions is that they reduce to the normally-verbose me (verbose in written form, at least) to simple answers.
My ideal with day with God: Sitting with Him in the shade of a giant tree, next to a clear, rushing river. Listening to Him talk about how and why He made the delicate flowers that blanket the meadow just behind us. Climbing up into His lap and listening to His heart beat. I wouldn’t want to say anything at all. Like a lovesick puppy-dog, I would just want to be with Him.
One question I would ask Him: There are many, but the one that stands out right now has to do with my brother. I would want to know why God allowed Him to suffer so much physical pain.
Stand-out moment with my earthly dad: Again there are many, but since my wedding anniversary was just two days ago, I remember how he held my hand tight just before we made that long trek up the aisle and into a new chapter of the story. He began to speak in a low voice, as he does, so that only I could hear. “We can leave right now if you want to. We can go get a hamburger.” Then at the reception he rocked out with me to our father-daughter dance song, “Old Time Rock and Roll” by Bob Seeger. That’s love, man. That’s love.
Father’s Day can bring up a lot of emotions. Relationships are strained or non-existent. Orphans wonder about biological dads and thank God for the dads who stepped in to raise them. Right now, my mom struggles as her father trudges through the tough valley of the shadow with pancreatic cancer.
Some fathers are distant and noncommunicative. Others are brutal in their violence. Some strive to be men of integrity, raising their children with love and care. There are funny dads and quiet dads, rough-and-tumble dads and gentle dads. Then there are the “other fathers,” the men like my husband who pour themselves into the lives of all the children they meet. They become safe people who help support and guide the little ones.
Father’s Day can poke at wounds and cause a strange mixture of sorrow and gratefulness to well up in our hearts. We mourn what is not and smile at what is. We thank God for the men, whoever they are, who wrap us in bear hugs and rise up to protect us. And yet we need more. We need something deeper than a human dad. And our dad’s need that something, too.
We need God. We need Abba. The Eternal Daddy. The one who holds the men who break when their children are ill. The one who holds the men who don’t know how to love. The one who holds the kids of all ages who feel the love and the confusion, the sorrow and the joy. So whatever we feel this Father’s Day, whatever the relationship we have with our dad’s, we must rest in this: Our Abba, our Daddy, is ever-near. Where our earthly fathers fail, He never does.