For Those Whose Father’s Weren’t So Great

Jun 18, 2011 | 2011 Articles, Christopher Lewis, Ministry Musings

by Rev. Christopher Lewis,
Nothing is Impossible Ministries

nothing is impossible

Father’s Day is a hard day for many people. It’s a day set aside to honor fathers, but the reality is that many of us don’t feel like honoring our fathers.

Why? Because many of us have not been given a very good image of fatherhood. For many, the term “father” refers to a man who abandoned us when we were small. For others, it brings to mind an angry man who beat us or a perverse one who abused us.

It is a sad truth, but it is an undeniable one:

For many of us, the idea of honoring our father doesn’t sit well because our fathers didn’t honor us.

Then, to make things worse, some of us go to church and hear sermons about how God is our Father. This is the last thing that an abused child wants to hear. If someone has been abused and hears about God as a Father, that person will likely run as far away from God as possible.

The same holds true for children whose fathers abandoned them. What kind of comfort are they going to find in thinking of God as a Father? Won’t that simply instill in them the fear that He, too, will one day abandon them in their time of need?

Even many of us who had better experiences with our earthly fathers, the idea of God being just like our dad doesn’t sit well with us. What about those of us who had dads who loved us but who were overly strict and harsh in their discipline? Do we really want to follow a God like that? Or what about those of us whose fathers made a lot of promises that they never kept? Wouldn’t we rather have a God who did a better job of keeping His promises?

But here is the good news for those of us who believe in the God of the Bible:

God is NOT like our earthly fathers.

When the Bible uses the concept of fatherhood in its description of God, it is not doing so to suggest that He is in any way, shape or form like the man who is or was our earthly father. Rather, the idea being suggested is that He is the ideal of what a Father should be if there ever were such thing as the perfect Father. Jesus, for example, when he suggested that his disciples pray by addressing God as “our Father” was suggesting the radical idea that God actually wants to be our perfect father-figure, the Father who never fails or abandons His children. He is always present, always faithful and always able.

Let’s briefly consider what the Bible says about these three points:

1) Our perfect Father is always present.

The Bible tells us that God says, “I will never leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) (NIV)

That’s a huge promise to make, but it is one only God can keep because He is able to be in all places at once. Even the best of earthly fathers can’t guarantee that he will always be with you. Even if he tries his best, he will find that he can’t always be by your side every minute of every day. He may have to go to work or spend time with Mom or with the other kids. Besides, it would drive most of us crazy if our fathers followed us around everywhere we went.

But our heavenly Father’s Presence is a helpful Presence. He’s there so that whenever we need Him He will be available. He doesn’t force Himself upon us but waits patiently for us to call out to Him.

2) Our perfect Father is always faithful.

The Bible says:

”Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23) (NIV)

When God makes a promise, He always keeps it. I am reminded of the story of a young child whose father lived in a different town and was constantly promising to visit him on the weekends. His father would tell him, “On Saturday morning, I’m going to pick you up first thing in the morning, and we’ll spend the whole day together.” The little child would get dressed early in the morning and sit patiently waiting for dad to show up, but he almost never came.

Our perfect Father always keeps His promises, and this is truly good news because He has made us a lot of amazing promises. The following are just a few of the promises that He has made to everyone who trusts in Him:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)(NIV)

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)(NIV)

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)(NIV)

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)(NIV)

If we will look for God’s promises to us in the Bible and begin to trust Him to keep them in our lives, we will discover what it is like to have a truly perfect Father.

3) Our perfect Father is always able

The Bible teaches us that God is more powerful than we can even begin to imagine. In Ephesians, for example, we are told:

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)(NIV)

Even the best of earthly fathers will sometimes fail us because their time, resources and abilities are limited. But God has no limits. He never runs out of time, he has access to all the treasures of heaven and earth, and he has the power to keep every promise He has ever made us.

What was your earthly father like? If he was a good man, thank God for him this Father’s Day. But even if he was the worst man you have ever met, try to remember that God is nothing like him. God is the perfect Father, and He wants to be a true and reliable Father to you if you will trust Him.

Christopher Lewis is an ongoing contributor to our Helping Hands section, and currently serving as a missionary with his wife Karen in Mexico where they are leading the planting of a new church in the town of Puerto Peñasco .


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