FATHERS – FOR GOOD OR BAD
Losing my Father
My father was the best in my eyes! I was a “Daddy’s girl,” and figured I’d still be that when I was 80.
But my father died at 85, when I was in my fifties. Thankfully, I know where he is, and that his eternal future is secure with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
A social worker came to visit when Dad was in hospice care. “Do you need to make anything right between you and God, or between you and others?” the young man asked.
Dad looked at him.
“I’ve tried to keep short accounts, to live in such a way that I’ve dealt with issues as soon as possible,” he said. “And I’m confident the God who has led me for 85 years will meet me on the other side.” Dad was at peace.
The hospice worker looked at those of us in the room with Dad.
“You don’t need me.”
A Good Father
I was blessed to have a loving, protective, authoritarian (not always seen as a positive but I can look back and see its benefits) father who lived his life with integrity and great love for his Lord and his family.
But I know many don’t have that experience.
- The friend whose father abused her severely.
- The one whose mother had various men in the house over the years, few of whom were kind to the child, who was perceived as a nuisance.
- The sexually abused child who learns her value is in what her body can give.
- The Christian singer and television hostess who had to step out of the public eye for a time to deal with her own hurts. Her father, who had a magnificent voice and sang in large Christian venues, suddenly got a brain tumor that changed him completely. Once her daddy’s darling, he now looked at her with hate, going so far as to chase her with a baseball bat when she was just five. “Why does my daddy, whom I adore, hate me now?” Shortly after that he was taken out of the home for the protection of his wife and family. https://www.amazon.com/Honestly-Sheila-Walsh-ebook/dp/B004B8W096/ref=sr_1_16?crid=2ZIPM7NVSMC1T&keywords=sheila+walsh+books&qid=1686612859&sprefix=Sheila+Walsh%2Caps%2C144&sr=8-16&asin=B004B8W096&revisionId=e9a5630d&format=1&depth=1
- The father who isn’t present for his children.
- I remember playing farmyard with toy fences and animals, on the floor with my brothers and Dad. He was right there with us. So was my grandfather, who laughed as he played “horsey” on all fours with one or another of us on his back.
- Each of us children had the opportunity to work with Dad. My brothers were paid and learned a great deal about carpentry by working alongside Dad on the beautiful homes he built. I was paid to help clean up the messes that come with building lovely homes. One grandson follows in Dad’s contractor footprints.
- Dad and Mom were intentional about sharing their faith with us, and about teaching us to walk with God. Oh, I blew it – often – still do. But after Dad disciplined me, he would hold me on his lap while I calmed and he explained why he had punished me. He told me he wanted me to learn to obey God. I’ll never forget the love that came with the discipline.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
- The father who doesn’t actively engage with his children. While the child wants only attention from his or her father, Dad sets him or her up with a video game while Dad does his own thing.
- The father who yells at his children, telling them they’re worthless, won’t amount to anything.
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Colossians 3:21
- The absentee father who, after a separation or divorce, rarely shows up when promised, to spend time with his children, leaving them wondering why he doesn’t love them anymore.
I don’t know what kind of father you had. And I know the kind of father you had can impact your view of God as Father.
The Best Father
I hurt for you if you had one of those abusive or absentee dads.
We had a dear friend who learned how to be a husband and father by thinking, “What would my dad do?” and doing the opposite. He had the wisdom to learn from the negative example with which he’d grown up.
But as we learn to know God’s character, His love, His faithfulness, we can restructure our thinking about fatherhood. Call Him “friend” if that is easier for you. But as you learn to know the Father’s character – the One who loved us so much He gave His Son to die to take the punishment for our sins and give us a life of hope…
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
Of peace that will carry us right through to eternity…
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
I’m deeply grateful for both my Fathers—John Froese, my Dad in the flesh; and God Almighty, my Father who loves me unconditionally and desires nothing more than my obedience, wanting to bless me as I walk with Him.
I pray you enjoy this Father’s Day, hopefully celebrating a good father, but also knowing our ultimate Father, God, is full of love and compassion and righteousness!