It’s easy to talk about Father’s Day when you were born into a family with a gentle spiritual leader, brave protector, and wise man of God at the head. But this weekend I couldn’t help but think about all those who have grown up in homes very different from mine.
From birth fathers who never show up, to present fathers whose hearts and minds are far removed, to abusive fathers who use words, sarcasm, physical or spiritual manipulation to control their families– the list feels endless and heart-wrenching.
Wounds left by fathers will follow their children far into adulthood. In fact, sometimes it is not until adulthood that the full weight of a father’s failure will press into a person. When you have the ability to look around and realize the dysfunction that covered your childhood, the previously-unrecognized wounds will tear wide open. And oh, the agony that old, newly recognized wounds can cause!
This past Father’s Day we worked to create beautiful memories. We made fun creative gifts, sang together, and danced with daddy around the kitchen. But someday my daughter will be forced to face the heart-breaking realization that she had a birth father who failed her.
And no matter how much we love her, no matter how much we pour into her– it will be impossible to stop the pain. She will have to face it, to stare it down, to fight the lies that will come with it. Our love will surround her and comfort her, but it cannot go back into the past and prevent the wounds from happening.
But there is one thing I will tell her when she is forced to face the primal wounds caused by some people she will never remember and others who she will never fully forget, and right now I want to say it to you too– to all of you who hurt.
Mankind will fail you.
And it wasn’t right, what happened to you.
God never fails.
He’s with you, and He will never leave you.
But it’s easy, oh, how I know, it’s easy to look back at where man failed and say, “God, where were you?” It’s easy to think that if God allowed it, then God condoned it. But that is not truth, dearest. It’s not.
Sin breaks the heart of God, as surely as it breaks the hearts of those sinned against.
Yet, one of the great mysteries of God is that somehow, someway, He works through sin to bring about His will. Do you understand what that means? It means that the God of the Universe, the God who has good in store for you– He is not hindered by mankind’s failures.
Your past may be marred by wounds and scars. Your present relationships may carry the weight of past sin that was done to you, or is being done to you. But there is hope and future in store for you.
Nothing done to you can prevent God’s future for you. His love lasts and lasts. And when you run to Him, when you submit your heart to His leading, He will battle the demons of your past with you. He will be your Father, your Love, your Comforter. When your earthly father fails, He really will father your heart.
Keep the doors of communication open with God, and He will be found by you.
The true Father’s love is an unstoppable force. It will fill in the gaps left by sinful men. It will close up the wounds created by thoughtless words and careless deeds. It will cover you and offer you the protection you need from painful memories and hurtful present circumstances.
And this love?– it carries with it the hope of a future.
Of all the things I pray for my daughter, this is the greatest one. That she will believe God’s promise of a future for her. That she will embrace His will for her life. That she will know His heart for her.
And to all you who are reading this– this is my prayer for you as well: That you may love the Lord, your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him and believe His promise of hope and a future for you.