Reflecting on Father’s Day

Honesty, Love, and Redemption

People often lie at funerals and on special days like Father’s Day. I frequently see posts about the “Best daddy in the world,” even when it’s clear that their dad isn’t. Why not just stay silent? If you can’t say something nice, as Thumper’s father said, it’s better to say nothing at all. But saying something nice when it isn’t true can feel even worse.

The truth is, my father was a terrible parent. I loved him, though. Momma didn’t allow anyone to speak badly about him to us. She wanted us to decide for ourselves what kind of relationship we would have with him. We discovered as young adults that he left our mom penniless with two little kids, gambled away our home, and never paid a dime to support us. He rarely showed up for visits, and when he did, he usually needed money, which our mom often gave him in the hopes that he would come around more. He was a raging alcoholic and drug addict for most of his life. He ruined my brother financially as a parting “gift”. It took my brother years to recover from the losses, both mentally and financially.

Despite everything, he loved my kids and was good to them and they loved him. We had some really good times together. I wish he had lived to see that choosing to raise my kids instead of having a career worked out in the end. All of his grandchildren are really cool humans. I wish he could have met Leul. They would have been thick as thieves. On second thought, maybe it’s good they never met.

At the very end, Dad did have a genuine change of heart. For that, I am very thankful. I had prayed for him all my life, and he has a redemption story that is so sweet. One day I’ll share his story. But his change of heart came at the end of a life spent destroying himself and anyone in his path, including his children. I don’t celebrate Father’s Day and never have. I’m not angry or cynical about it; he simply wasn’t a father worth celebrating, and it’s okay to say that about your dad too.

Finding Comfort in God, Our Perfect Father

While earthly fathers may fall short, God offers to be the perfect Father to us. However, He does not automatically assume this role in our lives. We must invite Him in and spend time getting to know Him through studying His Word and prayer. Here are some comforting scriptures to remind us of His perfect fatherhood and how we can grow closer to Him:

  • Psalm 68:5: “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”
  • Psalm 103:13: “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.”
  • Isaiah 64:8: “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
  • 2 Corinthians 6:18: “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
  • Matthew 6:26: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
  • Romans 8:15: “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.'”

No matter our earthly experiences, we can find comfort and security in the love of our Heavenly Father. By inviting Him into our lives and building a relationship with Him through prayer and studying His Word, we can experience His guidance, provision, and unconditional love. With God as our Father, we will always be okay.