“Father.” It’s an earned title. You don’t get to be called “father” in the familial sense simply because you are the biological male parent of offspring. There are plenty of men out there who are nothing but sperm factories. Biology may not even enter the arena when it comes to a legitimate tag of “father.” Your true father, should you be blessed enough to have had one, is the one who loved/loves you more than you can realize until you become a father yourself. Note not more than you can imagine, but more than you can realize. It’s the difference between imagining ice cream in the generic sense and tasting Ben and Jerry’s Everything But The… That’s on the giving end of fathering. But there’s also the receiving end, where we take in the love of our dads.
There is a longing we all share for a father, a dad. You may not have had a dad growing up. You may not even know who your biological dad was. But here’s the good news on this Father’s Day. There is someone who loves you and is willing to adopt you. Right now. No paperwork required. God the Father has that title by divine right, and because He demonstrated His love for you by sending His only Son, Jesus to die in your place so that you can realize the love He has for you by faith. The greatest Father of all is willing to adopt you, and welcome you into His family.
Once you accept His gracious invitation to join His family, He becomes so much more than just a divine legal Guardian. He opens the door to a relationship so deep, so intimate, that you can come to know Him as Jesus did – as your “Abba,” the informal “Daddy” term that Jesus used to address God the Father.
All of us true dads know that we are imperfect, at best, in our efforts to love our children as they deserve to be loved – as our heavenly Father loves us. Some of us are like a cheap knockoff of Ben and Jerry’s, substituting artificial ingredients (material possessions) for the real thing. Some of us, unfortunately, are poison to our kids. We may “taste” sweet, but we are laced with listeria. Over-indulgent parenting is lethal to healthy long-term relationships. But enough of that. Our joy as dads comes in our occasional success in modeling His love to our kids. We can see it in their eyes when we really connect. We can feel it in their embrace when they are the last to “let go.” We can hear it in their words at night when, after their prayers to our heavenly Father they say, “Love you, PoP!” as dear Evan says to me.
So, all you “Dads,” “Papas,” “Pops,” out there – whatever name you go by with your kids – stand up! We, your kids, salute you! We honor you! We thank you for showing us how to love as our heavenly Father loved – with self-sacrificing devotion, that models the greatest Father of all.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good!” Ps. 34:8a.