When Father’s Day arrives, I try to focus my attention on our heavenly Father. For if I focus too much on my own fatherhood, I become depressingly introspective, sorrowing over duties now ended and regretting duties neglected, even though these thoughts are seasoned with a few good memories of duties enjoyed and duties done well. Nevertheless, part of me would prefer to just ignore the day by skipping church and the anticipated Father's Day sermon. Yet, I attend anyway, because skipping church would undermine something close to my heart: the opportunity to encourage fathers to do their duty and the opportunity to remind fathers that their season of duty, at least in its more authoritative form, is short-lived.
Just as fathers provide for their children, our Heavenly Father provides for us. He showers us with blessings. However, unlike the earthly father, it is grace, not duty, that is the driving force for our Heavenly Father. Indeed, every day of our lives we experience anew the mercy and grace of God. Part of that mercy is the privilege we have of addressing God as Father. This is how the disciples are taught to pray, and this is what Jesus conveys when he speaks to the woman at the tomb saying, “I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.” (John 20:17, NASB) “My Father and your Father:” Jesus seems to overflow with enthusiasm in being able to tell this woman that now His father is her Father too. It is finished. It is accomplished. The mighty work of reconciliation is done.
Not only do we gain as Father the very God who created all things, but we also gain Jesus as our older brother, for He is the "firstborn of many brethren." (Romans 8:29, NASB) Doubtless, you have heard the parable of the Prodigal Son. When speaking on this parable, some preachers emphasize the compassionate fatherhood of God. Others emphasize the love of Christ, and they compare the bitterness and jealousy of the angry older brother to our own loving older brother: the good older brother who welcomes us home. We have both: God as our father and Jesus as our older brother.
Meanwhile, heaven is only a breath away. Turn around once and you are bringing home your first report card. Turn around again and you are standing at the front of a church before God, man, and the love of your life saying “I do.” Turn around again and you are on your face before God as he asks you, “Will you continue to trust me no matter what?” Somehow, by that strength that only God can give, you answer, "I will." Turn around again and yesterday seems like a dream, while heaven seems so near, as if just a few more steps might bring you to its very doors. Your heart skips a beat in rising anticipation of a place called home.
What a privilege it is to know that when I at last walk through those doors, I will find our compassionate Heavenly Father, and I will be greeted by our beloved older brother--our hope, our joy, our confident expectation, our faithful friend. Then I will hear those precious words, “Welcome home.”
We are homeward bound. Home is just over the horizon. Meanwhile, may the hope that awaits us fan the flames of present joy. The past was great, and oh how we miss it. But the best is yet to come. Happy Father's Day.
Home Help for Those Who Grieve Reflections