1 John 3:1a “See how very much our Father loves us, for He calls us His children, and that is what we are!
As Father’s Day approaches, I am drawn to memories of my earthly father. To me, as I grew up, he was a hero. He was there every time I needed him, protecting me from my mother during my teenage years when she was either cold, not speaking to me for days or weeks at a time, or raging, perhaps due to hormones. “I think this would be a great time to go golfing,” he would say, and off we would head for the links. Then there was the time I called him late at night telling him I thought I had tonsillitis, and Dad drove from Portland, Oregon, to Corvallis where I was in college, bringing me medication. It was late when he left Portland and much later when he returned home…approximately 1:30 AM, proof indeed, that though not spiritually nourished by my father, I always felt love and commitment from him.
Then came the day, when I was 65 years old, a cousin whom I had not seen for years stopped in for a visit—with a purpose in mind. She told me that for much of her life she had needed to seek out counseling, and that to help with closure, her therapist recommended telling me how my father had sexually abused her in her youth; she then described in some detail what had taken place. I was devastated. I went for long walks with my husband, tears streaming down my face. Who was my father, anyway? I thought I had known my him, but I hadn’t.
I’m certain that some of you reading this devotional had loving, Christian fathers who helped you walk through life and nurtured you in your faith; but there are others, I am equally certain, who not only treated you unfairly or harshly, but even abused you in one way or another. This was and is not the intent of your true Father God, who always has had your welfare in mind.
While human fathers come in all sizes, shapes, mentalities, goodness, or propensity for evil, you can rely on the fact that your true Father God is always good and never changing; He is the very definition and essence of love. While in our humanness we cannot understand God’s ways, we must understand that although we live in a fallen world with all its consequences, we can trust that God’s justice one day will prevail. From the moment Eve succumbed to the temptation of Satan, God’s plan of salvation was put into action, and God promised a Redeemer from Eve’s seed: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all animals, domestic and wild. You will crawl on your belly, groveling in the dust as long as you live. And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3:14-15
As we read the Bible, we can see that each book points to our Savior, Jesus, because from the beginning God’s desire was for life and the redemption of every man possible. We will see God’s plan of salvation coming to fruition when one day it plays out as foretold in the book of Revelation. Oh, glorious day!
If you have had a father who has abused you in any way, Satan will attempt to turn you from your true Father God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, telling you that He is just like your earthly father…that He will punish you for every sin you’ve ever committed and deny you all that is good. He would make you feel shame and/or guilt. What great lies! Your true Father, the One who created you, treasures you so very much that He sent His only Son to die for you and will protect you eternally if you call upon the name of Jesus as your Savior.
When you choose Jesus as your Savior, you become God’s child, and He gives you great promises as your Father: “And I will be your Father, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18 “The Lord is like a father to His children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him.” Psalm 103:13 And when you ask your Father’s forgiveness, He readily forgives: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness…” 1 John 1:9
Your God is not a punisher; He is your warrior, your eternal protector, and your life-giver. He sees you not as guilty, but as redeemed; He sees you through Jesus, whose blood has purified you, cleansing you from all sin. To God, you are as fresh and pure as newly fallen snow.
When Father’s Day arrives, be thankful if you’ve had a loving earthly father, and if you’ve not, forgive by placing into God’s hands the father who has harmed you; then remember to thank and praise your true Father for all His glorious works and for what He is accomplishing through your life. What a joy it is to remember that God finds you worthy of His everlasting care and love and that you are an inheritor of His eternal kingdom. What more could a child ask for?
Jeremiah 31:3 “Long ago the Lord said to Israel: ‘I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself.’ ”
Psalm 103:10-14 "He has not punished us as we deserve for all our sins, for His mercy toward those who fear and honor Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth."
Exodus 15:1-3 “Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD: I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously; He has hurled both horse and rider into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song; He has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise Him—my father’s God, and I will exalt Him! The Lord is a warrior; Yahweh is His name!”
Deuteronomy 31:6 “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
Isaiah 55:8-9 “ ‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.’ ”
PRAYER: Father, I don’t understand how my earthly father could have been so loving to me and yet so abusive to my beloved cousin. I, as all mankind, will never know what lies in the hearts of man! What I can always rely on, however, is who You are: steady, unchanging, promise keeping, and One who defines unconditional, agape love. You will never leave me, fail me, or forsake me. When I don’t understand the things of this world, I will keep my eyes focused on You and choose to trust You fully and completely, for I acknowledge that my understanding, ways, and thoughts could never approach Yours. I thank You with all my heart that I don’t have to rely on an earthly father for love , understanding, or acceptance; I have You! Thank You with all my heart for being my true Father.
DISCLAIMER: I am just an ordinary woman who loves Jesus, accepting Him as Savior at the age of thirty-two and digging into the Bible ever since. How could I possibly hope to develop a heart relationship with God and trust Him with my life if I didn't know who He is?!
These devotionals are written to help you journey with Christ and grow in your heart relationship with Him. However, it is essential that you examine my words, and those of all other "teachers," with God's Holy Word. Therein lies the source of all truth!
Candice Mary Thomas writes about loving God and loving people! Coming to Christ at age 32 and now in her 70's, Candice knows what a difference it makes living with or without Christ as one's personal Savior.