When our children were young they would often ask to play hide and seek. I would counter with an offer to play hide and don’t find. Their response: “Dad, that’s no fun!”
Every child (and every adult) longs to be valued and sought out.
This coming Sunday is celebrated as Father’s Day - a day set aside to honor those men who give of themselves to raise up the next generation.
Over the past 50 years our nation has seen a steady decline in the honor bestowed upon fatherhood. Some men have never become fathers because they perceive children as a burden. Others have “fathered” many children yet have abdicated the responsibility for the lives they have created.
Our bookstores are sprinkled with texts promoting a return to true fatherhood, but what does that really look like?
I was blessed to be raised by a Godly man. He walked the walk before he talked the talk. Many of my skills, talents and priorities can be traced directly to my father.
I cannot remember a single experience of being dropped off at church. He parked the car and we attended as a family. That model of fatherhood resonates deeply within my soul.
Many men today have been scarred by a very different upbringing. To them the title “Father” conjures up memories of anger and abuse. Some have suggested that our understanding of God as Father is strongly influenced by our relationship with our earthly father. I believe this to be true.
While I wear the title of father with due honor, there is another title that is even more valuable to my heart – the title of “Daddy.” Jesus understood the significance of this title. In the hour of his greatest need He cried out, “Abba, Father.” The word “Abba” is the Aramaic word for “Father.” And so its repetition would at first appear redundant.
But after deeper study one finds this form indicates intimacy and trust as opposed to the formalism of legalism. This depth of relationship with the Creator of the universe was not familiar to the Jews of his day. While most men today may not trace their roots back to the Jewish race, we bear a similar viewpoint.
We hide from our Heavenly Father fearing his punishment and hope He doesn’t find us. But God doesn’t seek to punish but to embrace us as his children. Jesus declares, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
This is the amazing truth of Father’s Day. “Our Father” so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Happy Father’s Day!
Tim Walker is the pastor at Faith Assembly of God.