“Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be refuge. Proverbs 14:26
I wonder how Father’s Day lands in your life? Some, like me, have a long line of fathers and grandfathers for which to honor and praise God. Some are missing their father with intense grief. Some suffer wounds from a father. Some are weighed down by the demands fatherhood places on the shoulders of the young and old alike.
Parenting is an overwhelming responsibility. None do it perfectly. Some embrace the role with great gusto and others fear and flee the role entirely and many muddle through doing the best they can.
Recently, as I studied Genesis, which details a long list of dysfunctional fathers, I was asked to consider what it means to me that God is my perfect Father? Maybe because I adore my earthly father, I have not had much need or spent much time reflecting on the how amazing it is that God is the ultimate Father I need. In my current context, this question stirred something deep inside me.
Sadly, my dad’s body is failing in many areas. He startles when I call or visit and his first question is, “angel, are you okay?” It as if when he hears my voice, he remembers his role as my father and he is suddenly panicked that he can no longer fulfill that role of provider and caregiver. Dad does not always remember how old I am, that even his grandchildren are grown up. He never forgets his reality though: that he is blind, cannot walk, and that his memory is failing. So, when he thinks of me, he worries that he cannot be the father I need. I remind him,” I am good!” I am provided for and cared for as is he. Then, he smiles and relaxes and enjoys our time together.
When I consider God as my perfect Father in this context, I am overcome with gratitude for the indestructibility and eternal nature of God. No disease or medical event will ever stop Him from fathering me. No physical, emotional, financial, intellectual, or moral limit will stop Him from providing. No lack of wisdom will ever hinder His guidance. No unholy or selfish thought will ever block His great love. Is that good news for you?
No matter how great any dad (or mom) is, we are all limited by time, space, capacity, health, hurts, habits, and hang ups, and so many other things. Proverbs 14:26 reminds fathers to point their children to the perfect Father, the LORD, by fearing Him. This name, Jehovah, means that God is self- existent. That powerful truth takes some time to settle in! Also, Jehovah is the Jewish national name for God. In these four capital letters in the English language, we can recall God’s omniscience and omnipotence in making and keeping covenant with His people through the ages. The LORD can secure what no earthly father can. He alone is the secure fortress that is a refuge for children of any age. When fathers remember these ancient words and fear the LORD by worshiping and obeying Him, I hope they can let go of the panic and pressure and relax and enjoy the children the ultimate Father has given them.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Offices by Biblica, Inc.™