I have a wonderful Father. He is kind-hearted, hard-working, and just a little bit ornery. :). He and my mom traded off working a second job to make ends meet, and they faithfully took us to church every week.
I will be honest though-I don't think I ever knew how hard my parents were working, or how much they sacrificed, or how much energy it takes to be a parent....until I became one.
So, a great deal more of appreciation for my own father, comes in watching my husband as a father to our children. It is in seeing him bear responsibility for providing for our family, that I begin to understand what my father must have felt all those years of working two jobs, or the sorrow he must have felt at times when he didn't have a job, or the constant struggle of trying to provide for us all.
It is in seeing Ben come home from a long day's work, tired from a night with little sleep, that I recall my dad rocking with me in the rocking chair after a bad dream.
It is in our struggle to find time and money to put our own children in lessons or classes that would grow them in their giftings, that I understand the sacrifices that were made for my piano lessons and gymnastics.
And all of this together, makes me think about the wonder and beauty of our Great God. He is a good Father. And in His infinite wisdom, the Father knew that so much of our understanding of His heart toward us would be bound up in our experience. So the Father didn't just say, "I love you." But He showed that love to the fullest extent by placing our sin upon the shoulders of Jesus. Jesus suffered in our place-that we might know the comfort of one who has endured the fullest extent of suffering. The Father endured the pain of watching his beloved Son as he carried the full weight of sin's wrath upon the cross.
There is such a deep sorrow in watching your own child suffer. Especially when it seems so unfair, and so unjust. To watch needles and poison and wires be poked into your tiny, precious flesh and blood. But there is an understanding of the cross, of the Father's heart that comes with it, which makes it all so much more real-so much more painful, and yet so much more precious.
In those moments of watching Elijah have blood drawn again, or of keeping everyone on "lockdown" because he doesn't have an immune system....my love for them is never decreased. In fact, it is exponentially increased, because I feel pain for what they must endure, but I know that it is necessary. The pain that we allow now, we hope is in some way allowing for a better future.
All this to say, this Father's Day, I love and honor my father, and his hard-work, sacrifice, and faithfulness, without which I surely would not be who I am today.
I bless and honor my husband, who is one of the hardest working men I have ever met, known, or seen. His willingness to serve us is beautiful, rare, and costly. He loves to say to me, "How can I rescue you?", and he truly does delight in being my knight in shining armor.
But for us all on Father's Day, may we look to Christ, and see forever the full and complete love that God the Father has for us. No matter what your experience of a father has been, no matter what sorrow your heart has known....His love for you is sure. He has declared it in the beauty of creation, in the provision of relationships, in so many blessings day after day that we may or may not notice.
The love of the Father has been forever declared by the cross of Jesus Christ. The Father's heart broke as His Son bled.....but He saw the good that would come from it: the redemption of the hearts and souls of many.
This Father's Day, I look to the cross and I remind my heart that suffering in this life does not mean that the Father does not love me. It means that His heart toward me is ever beating with loving kindness, and that not a minute of sorrow or suffering is wasted. Whatever He has allowed is surely producing something wonderful for myself, and others, that I cannot yet see. And so today, I will look for the gifts: the tiny miracles all around, the clouds in a beautiful blue sky, the voices of so many precious little people, and of course, a father and a husband who faithfully join with the chorus of creation that declares the love of a Good Father.
Oh! I want to honor and bless my Heavenly Father all my days! But in the end I find, it is always Him- loving me, redeeming me, rescuing me. Father's Day is another chance for me to echo back the worship that all creation is declaring: He is good! And His steadfast love endures forever.
This is a picture of Ben, holding Elijah, and dancing in the airport to ease some of his discomfort. Isn't it just like a good father, to hold us and dance with us even in the midst of our troubles?