Dads, God, and Father’s Day

“The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him.” (Proverbs 20:7)

I can settle strongly into the reality of this verse when it comes to my Dad. But not everyone can.

I remember when I was in elementary school, and some of my friends would just say stuff about their lives that no one older would have dared share for the fear of scrutiny, pity, and everything else that makes you feel helpless.

“My Dad’s in jail.”

Those four words have been spoken too many times by too many little ones, and even when I was a little one, hearing those words seared themselves into my brain.

I didn’t know people’s dads went to jail. I couldn’t even being to imagine a life where my father wasn’t present, and so I wondered how they could just say something like that.

Parental incarceration rates are high in the district I grew up in, so every once in a while I’d hear those four words again and just wonder that it was even a reality at all.

So, after the first couple times I heard about someone’s dad being in jail, it just kind of became a normal reality, and I heard it all the time.

Father’s Day is difficult for many because imperfection, death, estrangement, and misunderstanding exist in this fallen world. Where I have been blessed, for some reason or another, many have been left hurting and fearful. Because why can’t everyone just have a good dad?

I think a lot about the imagery of God as Father during this day of the year. In my experience, I’ve seen those characteristics of God exemplified in my Dad. And there are really good dads—hardworking, loving, provisionary dads who are doing the most. But there is also a lot of damage in the fatherly space of many hearts. I wish today wasn’t so difficult for so many, and I wish today was more celebratory than it often is grief-filled, but I want to propose something:

What if today became a day for celebrating the Good, Good Father? For celebrating all the ways He fulfills and fills and restores and redeems? What if today was a day to reposition our attitudes, not just toward our Good God, but toward our earthly fathers? As much as my Dad is a really good dad, we’re all people, and I could use a reset every once in a while to remind myself of all the wonderful things my Dad has done for our family; I think most of us find it easy to take for granted all the ways our fathers provide. A lot of mainstream things misconstrue many a good dad, and we need to be so careful to not receive what the world says about fathers as the truth about our own fathers.

That’s not to say every dad is amazing, and if you can’t think of a reason to celebrate your earthly father, don’t worry, you’re not sitting this holiday out because doesn’t our Heavenly Father just always come through? Doesn’t He just always provide, care for, sit with, and Love us?

And now, I do have a Dad and grandfathers worth celebrating, but I don’t think they would mind my saying, that the Good Lord deserves our celebration all the more! Make today about the Good Father—and maybe that Grace will overflow more in the pouring out of Love to our family members right next to us on earth.

Happy Father’s Day, to my Dad, to my Papas, and to my Heavenly Fathe Who is worthy of it all and high above it all.

•••

With Love,

Hannah

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