My Dad is the greatest because…

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Dad is the greatest because…

This is probably the hardest prompt I will respond to this year. I love my Dad. I really, really do. I have always struggled to make sense of my relationship with him and to make sense of his absence from my life. It has been (and—I’m sure—will continue to be) a most arduous journey.

In fact, for many years, I looked for other father figures to fill the void in my life. And what a blessing—that certain men made themselves available and fathered me as if I belonged to them! In this regard, I see God’s love most clearly—that someone could love a child who is not his natural daughter as if she were his very flesh and blood. That is what God does for us. Except there’s a greater mystery with God: somehow, He actually makes us His children. He makes us His heirs, His sons and daughters. It’s hard to understand, I think, but it’s really amazing. It’s a love greater than anything we know here on earth. And He doesn’t do it because we are something special; He does it because it is in His character to love us and to place value in us. Woah, eh? So having men from church, friends’ fathers, uncles, pastors, teachers who love me as if I belong to them really is a blessing to me. It has taught me that God loves me enough not only to make me His daughter, but to provide for me the example and the love that my own father has struggled to provide.

But I wouldn’t leave you thinking that my Dad means nothing to me. The truth is that the reason I have struggled so much with my father is because he means everything to me. He is the only Dad that is truly mine, and nothing—not anger, not resentment, not fighting, not pain, not fear—can change that. I am his daughter. He is my Dad. No other man in the whole course of history can take his place. With all of his flaws (with all of my flaws!), with all of his stubbornness (with all of my stubbornness!), with all of his quirks (with all of my quirks!), with all of his bad habits (with all of my bad habits!)…he belongs to me. That truly makes him the greatest.

All my love,

Aunt Sarah

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6 thoughts on “My Dad is the greatest because…

  1. Sarah,

    My four adult children (all called today) will tell you that the nature of the so called nuclear family relies on our full time physical contact with each other during the formative years. The impressions and memories they have of those days are dissimilar to mine, as we all have a unique perspective, but we all agree that those years were precious to us all. Our salvation and sanctification are mirrors of our relationship with our earthly father, without which a heavenly Father relationship is difficult to attain. Your salvation is a miracle.

    Yours is a typical experience of 50% of marriages today – within and without “the church.” I do not envy your position but applaud your attitude regarding your Dad.

    Do you have any contact with him these days?

    Dave Wade

    • Dave,

      You said:

      “Our salvation and sanctification are mirrors of our relationship with our earthly father.”

      I rather think it’s the other way around–our relationship with our earthly father is (should be) a reflection of our salvation and sanctification through our Heavenly Father.

      As for my salvation–yes, it is a miracle. But I would say that is true of us all.

      Blessings, brother. And Happy Father’s Day! :)

  2. Hey, Sister,

    I am not a fan of child evangelism, as it creates a false sense of security in an child who, in an attempt to please Mom and Dad, obeys their desire to delight God by a salvation commitment. It is not a Biblical concept. As that child matures they will discover adult hormonal emotions that bring new desires into play. “How can a born-again believer experience these drives ?” they say – “I thought my mind was renewed.” I have seen this result in a crisis of insecurity that takes years to overcome.

    Not only that, but how does one explain original sin to a pre-pubescent child who has no idea of adult motives? Original sin must be understood and confessed in a thorough salvation experience as it is the reason for all our desire to sin – we inherit it due to no fault of our own. This requires a mature, experienced mind and body to be fully understood. I believe child evangelism is as deadly to the Body of Christ as “cheap grace” – they both create a false security that seldom is confronted and resolved.

    Peter clearly states in Acts 3:19, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…” What does any child have to repent of – stealing a cookie, not sharing their toys with a sibling, disobeying their parents? They should commit to loving Jesus and understand His sacrifice, but that is not a salvation relationship with Him. It is, however an essential beginning.

    The nuclear Christian family is the ideal, IMHO. In our circle of churches, it is the rule rather than the exception. However it is rapidly becoming obsolete in our post modern world. Many come to Christ without being raised in one, Praise God – His mercy and love are beyond our understanding.

    I repeat – as a child learns to obey and love their earthly father, that relationship may be transferred to our Heavenly Father as we mature and comprehend the full depth of His Biblical commands.

    May your father be blessed by your love and faith.

    Dave

    • Dave,

      The premise of your reply is faulty. You say that a a child who seeks salvation may eventually have a crisis of faith when they experience desires and thoughts as an adult. But so what? I have never met a believer who has not struggled with their thoughts and desires. And I’ve never met a believer who abandoned her faith simply because she was struggling with such a thought or desire. I think you may have created a false premise there, whether you meant to or not.

      Nonetheless, I don’t see that the above comments had anything to do with Child Evangelism, and I don’t particularly want to get into a lengthy discussion about that topic. At least–not today. Maybe another time, if you’d like. :)

      My point was–and remains–that the father-child relationship is a reflection of our relationship with Father God. In the same way, the husband-wife relationship is said to be a reflection of our relationship to Christ, our Bridegroom. But I don’t think you can reasonably suggest that a fatherless child cannot (or will not or does not) understand or desire a relationship with God, just like you cannot suggest that an unmarried person cannot understand or desire a relationship with Christ.

      If the Spiritual relationships are a reflection of the physical ones, then we are–all of us–in trouble. How can the everlasting be a reflection of the temporary? No, it is the temporary that is a reflection of the everlasting; it is a replica of the original, so to speak.

      I do, however, agree very strongly with your sentiment–with the point behind your comments: that it is important for a child to be raised in a Christian home with both parents. But we cannot make that choice for others. And as Believers, I think we can and should do far more to minister to children of broken homes, rather than stand in judgment over the fact that their parents aren’t together…or aren’t Christian. It would be nice if all families were the ideal Christian two-parent home. But they aren’t. And Christ still died for them.

      Pax!

  3. Sarah,

    You stated: “I rather think it’s the other way around–our relationship with our earthly father is (should be) a reflection of our salvation and sanctification through our Heavenly Father.”

    POV (point of view) is usually problematic in this ether – driven environment. I just realized your opinion in this father/child/salvation issue is probably a result of a single parent upbringing – something I have no experience with. My Dad died at 41 when I was 15, so I have a small taste of missing what God intended for the nuclear family. My brother was 10 and has slowly recovered from the trauma. I had to learn fatherhood by painful experience – thankfully my children suffered little as we grew up together and my wife became an excellent parent in spite of her upbringing. Your pov is now understandable given your experience and correct in all ways.

    Congratulations in finding Him.

    Dave

  4. You said:

    “And I’ve never met a believer who abandoned her faith simply because she was struggling with such a thought or desire.”

    In my experience this problem is much greater in the male of the species given his testosterone driven mind and body.

    I’m not sure why I brought up child evangelism, now – this elderly mind has a developed a few gliches over time – sorry for the muddy waters. The pov comment was submitted prior to reading your reply.

    Potest frueris pacem et quietem.

    Dave

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