Finding Father

Tommy sat on the church steps, twirling a dandelion. The wind captured a cluster of seed parachutes, catapulting them into the air. Like the incomplete seed head, he felt his life had been breached.

As much as he wanted to tune out the voices he heard coming from inside the church, he could not. He knew the identity of every voice, and their words cut deep.

“I can’t take him,” Aunt Mabel shouted. “With the Great Depression, I can scarcely take care of my own.”

“It’s because he’s not a girl,” Uncle Derrell countered.

“Then you take him in,” Aunt Mabel retorted, “or can’t you handle another son? The good Lord knows how much mischief your children have gotten into.”

“Mabel, that’s enough!” Uncle William said. “John, just because you’ve gotten remarried doesn’t mean you get to ditch the youngest. He’s your flesh and blood!”

“He’ll manage.”

“He will because I’m going to take him.” The church doors creaked as Uncle William leaned into their massive frame. “C’mon, Tommy, let’s go home.”

Tommy’s dandelion scattered further. Some of the seed parachutes crushed underfoot as he and his new “father” exited. Having been abandoned by his birth father without so much as an apology and knowing his stepmother rejected him outright, Tommy wondered if he could trust Uncle William, whom he’d only seen at an occasional family gathering?

As Tommy clasped the hand of the one who held his future, his dandelion broke in two. Dropping the stem, he let go of everything he held dear, including his relationship with his birth father.

Uncle William opened the car door. Tommy stepped in.

“Call me ‘Dad,’ okay? If this is going to work, you’ve got to recognize I’m your father now.”

Tommy looked back at the massive church doors. He wondered if God even existed.

A father to the fatherless. That’s who Uncle William became to Tommy, and he was a good one. Even so, the emotional scars that raged within this six-year-old boy were deep-set, and haunting memories affected him into adulthood. His well-being would depend upon his willingness to call upon the Father of all fathers.

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation.

Psalm 68:5 NKJV

Perhaps our earthly father had character flaws that make celebrating Father’s Day something we’d love to forget. No matter what kind of father we’ve had, our peace depends on two factors: a willingness to forgive our earthly father and a willingness to allow our heavenly Father to be our parent?

Forgiveness boils down to deciding. When we forgive our earthly fathers for how they’ve fallen short, freedom comes. They’ll know by how we extend grace, even if we don’t say the liberating words, “I forgive you.”

We don’t have to depend on our earthly fathers’ approval to know we are valuable in God’s sight. Acknowledging this turns the course of our lives in a positive direction.

We have a heavenly Father who loved us before we had a body, a name, or an earthly identity. We were in His thoughts before creation came into existence. And our reliable heavenly Father gives us a purpose for living.

Why can we experience the shattering pain of being rejected by a birth father? We live in a fallen world, so these losses happen. To have free will, God lets us make decisions. Sometimes people don’t exercise this free will wisely. Our heavenly Father cares for us always. Thus, He even brings substitute fathers, mothers, sisters, and friends to ease the pain of relational losses.

God sets the solitary in families.

Psalm 69:1a NKJV

This Father’s Day, make it your goal to nestle into Daddy God’s arms of grace. It doesn’t matter whether you ever heard approving words from your father or anyone else. Your heavenly Father shouts from Heaven’s gates, “I love you, child. You are Mine as I am yours. I sent my Beloved Son to ensure you know how deep and wide My love is.” No matter your age or accomplishments, God wants to lavish His love on you, His child.

Do you find comfort in knowing God loves you?

Father God, help me to absorb every ounce of love You want to give me. Thank You for being the best “daddy” I could ever hope for. I love you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Genre: Creative non-fiction; names changed.

Diane Virginia

Diane Virginia (Cunio) is the founder/director of VineWords: Devotions and More, the co-editor/co-compiler of Love-Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships (VineWords Publishing), and the author of The Kiss of Peace: A Contemporary Exploration into Song of Solomon (Mount Zion Ridge Press).

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