THE NO MATTER WHAT FATHER
By Steve Bietz
My wife and I did a little bit of shopping this morning. A little bit is about as much as I can handle. One of the items we needed to get was one of those Hallmark cards. In a few days, we are attending a wedding for a young lady that is a member of our church family. While my wife was searching for an appropriate wedding congratulatory message, I was browsing the large section of Father’s Day cards. My dad passed away a dozen years ago, so I was not looking to purchase a card, rather I was just browsing. I picked up a card to read it and was struck by the underlying message of the card. On the front, the card stated: “DAD, WHEN YOU LOOK AT ME…TRY NOT TO SEE ALL THE HOURS OF WORRY I CAUSED YOU.” Then on the inside of the card, “TRY NOT TO THINK OF THE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS YOU INVESTED IN ME.” Then on the next panel, “TRY NOT TO REMEMBER THE ANXIETY, FRUSTRATION, AND JUST PURE TORTURE I’VE PUT YOU THROUGH.” And finally on the last page, “INSTEAD, THINK OF WHAT A GREAT LITTLE CHARACTER-BUILDER I’VE BEEN! HAPPY FATHER’S DAY.”
As I stood there in the aisle with the card in my hand, I contemplated just how horribly insufficient my expression of thanks was that I mailed to my father every June. A card could never make up for the sacrifices my dad made for me and my family. I could go on and on about the enormous outlay of time and money my dad supplied and I could endlessly address the heartache and yes torture that I caused my father in my youth. I cannot name a single time that my father was not there for me, no matter what. No matter what covers a lot of stuff that I’m too embarrassed to share in this forum. It is way too kind to refer to me as a character-builder as the Hallmark card stated.
Likewise, as I contemplate my Heavenly Father, I cannot help but sense the same horribly insufficient expressions of thanks I share with Him in prayer. I mean what could compare to the investment that the Father God has extended to each of us. There is a hymn written by Frederick Lehman entitled “The Love Of God.” The opening line states, “The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell.” See, as good as Hallmark is, it is insufficient in trying to convey the wonderfulness of the love of our Heavenly Father. The disciple John expressed this same thought in a letter he wrote to the first century Christian Church. We find his words in 1 John 3:1. “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.”
Now I am well aware that earthly fathers are not perfect. Sometimes they fail. And I am well aware that everyone who reads my words did not have a dad that was there for them, no matter what. But we do have this guarantee. That our Father in Heaven is such a surety, that He is always there for us…no matter what. God is a “no matter what” Father.
We can be thankful this June for our dads here on this earth. I would actually hope that we don’t just wait for June to say thanks. And to our Heavenly Father, even though it is horribly insufficient, may our thankfulness be expressed in a way that we share the Father’s love in our service for others. Actually, when we do share His love, that is exactly what makes our Heavenly Father…happy. Indeed, Happy Father’s Day.
Blue Ridge Christian News covers Burke County, McDowell County, Mitchell County, Yancey County, Madison County, in North Carolina, and Christian news from around the country.