The father who is always there conjures up certain images, especially on Father’s Day. For example, he’s tossing a ball in the backyard and attending every dance recital, lesson, or game. He’s at the family dinner table, helps with homework and other problems, shares the laughs, and shares his wisdom and teaching. He referees sibling arguments, helps dry the tears and cushion the disappointments. The father who is always there shows unconditional love.
What if this wasn’t your father?
Father’s Day – and any day – can be hard if you didn’t have that father. Did you grow up with a father who was NOT there? Maybe you have a hard time relating to the father described above. Instead, you might feel fear, sadness, rejection, anger or disappointment. Maybe your parents divorced and your dad just left the picture. Maybe your dad abandoned you and left home – or even if he was home, he was physically distant. Sadly, there are emotionally, physically and/or sexually abusive fathers who also have left deep scars. Often, neither side makes a move to heal those scars, even years later. Does any of this sound familiar?
If you’re grieving a good father or feeling bitterness about a bad father this Father’s Day, please read on. I understand there may be an emptiness inside you, especially today. I would like you to consider a different perspective. Let’s consider our heavenly father.
To start, try not to base your understanding of your heavenly father on your own negative, earthly father experiences. Instead, let’s turn to scripture to learn more. Let these words soak down into the roots of your heart.
Your heavenly father will not reject you:
“And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18, NLT)
“ . . . for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6, NIV)
He has an amazing and abundant love for us and paid a high price for us:
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:18-19, NLT)
Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? (Romans 8:32, NLT)
He’s a great provider:
“You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” (Luke 11:11-13, NLT)
Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! (Luke 12:24, NIV)
He will forgive you and love you unconditionally, even if you reject him:
“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20, NLT – verses 11-32 for the whole story – this is a great message on its own!)
Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11, NLT – verses 3-11 for the whole story)
He is our ultimate source of strength and comfort:
I love you Lord, you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; My God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold. I will call on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, For he saves me from my enemies (Psalm 18:1-3, NLT)
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. (Psalm 23:1, NLT)
He will advise and guide us:
Show me the path where I should walk, oh Lord; Point out the right road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. (Psalm 25:4-5, NLT)
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8, NLT)
He is our protector:
The Lord is my light and my salvation – so why should I be afraid? The Lord protects me from danger – so why should I tremble? (Psalm 27:1, NLT)
The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them. I will satisfy them with a long life and give them my salvation.” (Psalm 91:14-16, NLT)
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? (Romans 8:31, NLT)
I know that was a lot of scripture – but I’m also guessing there may be a lot of pain. I also wanted to capture several thoughts and examples that might comfort you now, and again, later. Feel free to come back again and read through the list. I highly recommend memorizing meaningful scripture, so that you can use it whenever and wherever you need it. That’s a supernatural power we can all access.
Listen to this song and let the words and music move you to praise the ultimate father: Good Good Father – Chris Tomlin
Healing and Application:
Get 2 note cards or similar pieces of paper.
On the first, write down the negative experiences or memories from your father.
Pray over these hurts and/or send them to our prayer team to pray over, for forgiveness (Edward@Mission-Addiction.org)
Destroy the list in whatever way helps you symbolically leave these hurts with God, vs. holding onto them.
On the second card, write the positive things from your father – memories, teachings, positive characteristics that are part of you, other family members, etc.
For those who are disappointed or feeling the pain, think of the indirect learnings or benefits you may have received:
Can you be thankful for a substitute role model, like a teacher, coach, neighbor, uncle, brother, etc. who WAS there for you?
Can you be thankful for your resolve to NOT be like your father and how you have (or will) become a better parent to your own children?
Any positive attributes you can think of? Any other strengths you’ve built up because of this adversity?
Save this second card as a reminder of the positive outcomes of your relationship. Add this to your prayers and gratitude lists on an ongoing basis.
Remember to be thankful on Father’s Day or any day, for the father who is always there – your heavenly father.
Tip: you can do this exercise for mothers and anyone else, too.
We’re fans of Christian music, period, and also recommend it, to grow in faith. Consider having a Christian station playing in the background, especially if you’re under attack by negative thoughts.
Lord, I praise your example of fatherly love and praise all the fathers who get it right. I lift up all the disappointed children of all ages, who expected more from their earthly fathers or grieve their loss. I pray that this message, your word and your healing can lighten their load. If they dwell on fatherly thoughts, I pray it can be more about the second note card and their heavenly father. Lord we ask your forgiveness for those fathers and for ourselves, because all of us have sinned. Help us forgive our fathers and anyone who wrongs us, as you forgive us. On this day – or any other day when unhealthy memories flood our minds – help us unload this burden we’ve been carrying and cast it aside. With your healing and love, help us replace it with you, as our limitless supply of strength and hope. Amen.
Happy Father’s Day. May God bless you.
Thank you for “attending” The Path – Quick Church in written form. Let me know what you think of this message. Which scripture spoke to you the most? Feel free to like, comment, and share and/or contact us to go into more detail and work on more of that healing together.