My dad, he is one of the goofiest people I know. For one thing, he thinks his jokes are funny and often times they are, but he gets this look on his face right before he shells out a one-liner, and it completely gives him away. You know he is going to say something funny because of that look.
Growing up he was and still is a good dad. I remember him throwing me up in the air and saying "whoosh, whoosh" over and over again until we were both out of breath. On Sunday's, he would come into my room to wake me up and I would ask for five more minutes, to which his reply would always be "okay, but just because you're the princess of the world." This tradition carried on until I moved out of the house at nineteen. Even though I am in my thirties with three kids of my own, he very rarely calls me by my given name. Instead, I still answer to Smooch, just precious.
I remember clear as a bell one Christmas we were delivering gifts to a family whose father was in prison, my dad and mom used to be involved in prison ministry at our church, and there happened to be another child in the home that we weren't aware of. We didn't bring a present for him and these presents were the only gifts those kids would receive. We got in the car after the drop off and with tears in his eyes, he said he couldn't stand the thought of the little guy watching the others opening gifts. So off to Meijers we went to buy a toy.
He has a compassionate side to him that I love. He also has a rigid justice side to him, one I inherited. This is good and bad because we can both struggle with lending mercy to those we feel have treated us or others unjustly. I know these things about my dad because I've spent time with him. I'm confident about the type of person he is, far from perfect and with flaws like the rest of us, but a good dad.
The thing I love most about my dad (and mom) is the introduction they gave me to my Heavenly Father from the very beginning of my life. My dad is a studier of the Word, he prayed with and for me often as I grew up. He can still be found on their couch with a book, bible and study bible out just soaking it in, his familiar handwriting scribbled all over the legal pad that lays next to him. And I think because of this, I love to do the same thing. I love my dad, but that Abba Father he taught me about, He is truly incredible.
Recently, I've seen a connective theme in sermons at church, a book I am reading and a devotional. Typically, when I see this commonality within numerous areas of my life, my "spiritual ears" perk up. I try to figure out what God could be teaching me or what new facet about Him I can learn. But it's hard to get to know someone unless you spend time with them.
This theme that keeps repeating itself to me involves confidence, not in myself, but in God. Numerous stories from the Bible keep popping up regarding people believing God is good, no matter what and that His intentions towards them are also good. Take Martha, Lazarus's sister for example. Lazarus dies and Jesus knew he was dying and He didn't come to heal him like she had asked. And when Jesus finally shows up days later, she says to him "even now" (John 11:22) I believe if you wanted to heal him you could. How'd she have that confidence? To believe that although her brother was already dead, He could raise him back to life. And that whether He chose to or not, she still loved Him.
Or we could think of David, long before King preceded his name, he was stuck with sheep. But that same shepherd boy had the confidence to look a giant in the eyes when no one else was willing to and challenge him to a dual. My pastor recently taught on this and emphasized the fact that David even went as far as to ask Goliath who he thought he was, attacking God's people. This teenager was average size and the Bible describes Goliath as over ten feet tall. Where'd he learn to trust God like that? All that time watching sheep, David spent praising and talking with God. Tim Kellers devotional on the Psalms if filled with reminders that David had gotten to know God well enough that when He told him to do something seemingly insane, He did it.
I want that, I want to know my heavenly Dad in that way. Like Martha, David, Moses, Abraham, Joseph, etc. These people were put in extremely difficult situations and yet after listening to the voice of the their Father, came out alive and confident in His Goodness. It's not that He changed the situation for them, but rather He proved that He would sustain them through it. Over and over again, He renders himself trustworthy.
And maybe thats a hard thought for some, trusting a dad. Maybe you wish you could have a better dad, or you never knew your dad. It could be that your dad is the cause of years of hurt and pain. But this is different, the hurt and pain that is inevitable when dealing with other humans is non-existent with Him. Because on earth even the best dads are flawed, but He is perfect. I just love Chris Tomlin's song Good, Good Father, especially the opening lines:
Do you know that? That this Fathers Day you can have joy because He is pleased with you and you're never alone. He deeply desires for you to get to know Him. It's a vulnerable thing, letting Him in, but I'm learning to treasure allowing Him to be what He was always intended to be in my life.
I appreciate all those dads out there past and present who exemplify the Father's love regularly to their families, my dad and husband included. Happy Fathers Day!