I was adopted. What a poignant picture of grace it has come to be for me. First, I am thankful my birth parents did not have me aborted, but given for adoption. Secondly, that strangers would take me in and give me a home as their very own son. As a new born, I had no say - no way to earn their favour or plead my case. Yet, I was compassionately given, and lovingly received. It was all of grace. Is this not like the Fathers’s grace to us in Christ? “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”” Romans 8:15
Not long after my parents adopted me, they too experienced their own adoption by grace into God’s family. My earliest memories are of parents who were totally born again. Through thick and thin they hungered and thirsted after God, endeavouring to honour and please him in all they did. This continues today. The example of their faithfulness has had a powerful influence on me.
Some memories of my dad growing up, in light of Father’s Day this Sunday, would be: His Bible was never dusty, or merely ornamental. I can see it now - well worn, dog-eared, marked up, and so highlighted in neon yellow it resembled a flag person’s vest. I would often discover my dad kneeling over his bible, deep in prayer and study. Singing was never perfunctory for him. He was not demonstrative in worship, but he would sing God’s praise with gratitude and earnestness, sometimes with tears. None of this was for show. His love for Jesus was real. Men are difficult to read, but no one doubted the authenticity of my dad’s faith and unashamed commitment to follow Christ.
In an article on Fatherhood, Pastor Ray Ortlund shared how his father would often say, “Listen, son. Half-hearted Christians are the most miserable people of all. They know enough about God to feel guilty, but they haven’t gone far enough with Christ to be happy. Be all-out for him! I don’t care if you’re a ditch-digger, as long as you love the Lord with all your heart.”
This sounds so much like my father’s oft repeated admonitions to me growing up.
You may not have had a godly father. Perhaps memories around Father’s Day are dark and painful for you. Only God the Father will never fail us, and it is only in a relationship with him that we can find healing, forgiveness, and grace for ourselves and the ability to extend it to others. The questions are: What kind of father are you? How will your children remember you? Is your goal for your children to love you the most, or God the most? Remember, they are sinners just like us. Their affection will come and go, but if you help them to love the Lord above all else, they are more likely to love you well. They know not one of us is perfect, but are we modeling for them what a relationship with the only true and perfect Father is like? May they ever see the Father’s heart in ours.
“The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers.” 1 Kings 8:57-58
Thanks for meandering along with me,