Father's Day: Our first Father

Our thoughts for Father's Day 2017

Choosing a Father’s Day card is a minefield. For a start, what if the man you’re buying for is not sporty, not into gardening, and not into drinking beer? The selection is already diminished by about 90%.

But also, what if, as is often the case, the recipient is not your ‘darling daddy’?

He might be the stepdad who has been there for you for as long as you can remember, taking on a difficult role with grace and loving you even though you don’t contain his DNA, or similarly, an incredible adoptive father who you care for deeply and feel gratitude for all he’s done, but you still struggle to call dad.

Or perhaps he is the one who provided half your genetics but since then he’s not been especially involved, and you’re not actually even sure if maybe he is into gardening?

He could be an incredible foster carer who has steadfastly walked with you along a twisted, traumatic path, whom you still call by his first name even though he’s been more of a dad to you than anyone.

And while all this confusion is going on for others, it could be that you don’t need to purchase a card even though you long to, because the person you so desperately want to give one to is no longer here.

The pain and complex emotions of this day are really not summed up amidst the array of cards on display at the local supermarket.

For so many of us, the idea of ‘Father’ is weighed down with extra baggage.

And yet lots of men do press on to throw off their own experiences as they seek to be great fathers and father figures to the next generation.

Whether they are your children through birth or adoption or you’re committed to fostering and caring for them for as long as they need, whether you’re a coach, teacher, godfather, grandfather, uncle, mentor or neighbour, or you’re just a guy seeking to set a good example, we see the effort you’re putting in to love and nurture and protect and empower the children and young people in your life.

We thank you, and today we celebrate you.

But in the midst of these celebrations, we can’t shake off our experiences, and if for you (or perhaps some of the children in your care) the idea of father is synonymous with neglecter, abandoner, abuser, harsh, absent, strict, or distant, what can we do?

In our churches we speak so often of God as Father, and rightly so. The Bible is clear that he is urgently seeking this role in our lives and he longs us to know Him as Abba. Not the ‘darling daddy’ of a flimsy greetings card but the real, authentic, precious, wholehearted, committed, generous daddy who cares so deeply, and will never leave us nor forsake us.

We can know Him like this because of our adoption into His family:

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure. (Ephesians 1.3-5 (NLT)

This is incredible, and yet even as we read it our minds could be clouded by the earthly fathers who have let us down. How can we know God as father if our dads failed to live up to their responsibility and set simply terrible examples for us?

It’s not easy, but the answer is there in Ephesians 1: God was our Father FIRST.

‘Even before He made the world’ He loved you and chose you.

Before you were conceived into a little bundle of cells, you were conceived in His heart.
Before you were born into an earthly family, you were adopted into His family.
Before you were able to form a smile, He beamed over you with pleasure.

He was your Father, first.

Before any birth father or other father figure could do anything wrong, AND before any birth father or father figure could do everything right and be a wonderful dad to you, the great God of the universe was your Abba.

He is the One we can look to first for reassurance, for comfort, for strength when life is hard. He is the One that shapes our identity and gives us purpose. He is the One who holds us when we’re hurting and cheers us on as we persevere. He is the One who will never and can never leave us, even though we may lose earthly dads through distance, difficulties or death.

He is the One who loves you in a way your mind can’t even comprehend.

He is your Father, first.

He sets the greatest example for earthly men to follow; He shows us how to live, how to love, how to give, and how to grow.

This Father’s Day, we celebrate our dads and the father figures who have shaped us. We thank those of you who do all you can to care for children, in whatever form that takes.

And we recognise that our Abba, was our Father, first.

Home for Good



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