"He said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father........." Luke 11:2
Today is my Father's 79th birthday. I would love to celebrate it with him but I can't. He has been dead for 20 years. He died about three weeks short of his 59th birthday.
My greatest hope is that he somehow made to the place where he can celebrate today and forever. Unfortunately I don't have strong assurance that he did.
Since my dad left when I was still a young child I never knew him well. He sort of drifted in and out of my life after that - mostly out. As an over-the-road truck drive he was never any where very long. Literally, his life was spent coming and going. I guess when you spend your life coming and going you get good at it.
Kids are designed to need a father and dads are supposed to be designed to affirm their kids. I was willing to live up to may part of the deal. So, I spent the first 20 years of my life trying to impress him and win his approval. It's hard to know how to aim at a moving target.
But something profound happened somewhere in the quest to connect with my earthly father. I connected with my Heavenly Father. I found in Him a stability that I had not known. I discovered He wanted to connect with me even before I decided to connect with Him. He was impressed with me! He didn't care if I made the varsity or not. He didn't care if I went into a hitting slump and my batting average dropped. And He didn't care more about me when I hit the game winning hit or made the winning basket. He just wanted to be my Father! I just had to let Him! I could do that!
Here's what I know now, as an adult. If I would have been close to my earthly father, I probably would not have gotten to know my Heavenly Father. In all his coming and goings my dad never got to church and he never got around to knowing God. He had no interest and felt no need.
If you are a son who never knew your dad, I urge you to chase down your Heavenly Father. If you are a father, affirm your son (or daughter) verbally and with your presence. Spend time with him. Show up at his games and events. If he is the star player or if he never makes it off the bench - go cheer for him. Never let a day happen where he wonders if you love him. Tell him, show him, and tell him while you show him.
I was blessed that I came to know my Heavenly Father due to the lack of an earthly father. How much better it would have been if I would have come to know my Heavenly Father BECAUSE of my earthly father.
So, I pause today to think what could have been. I stop to thank my Heavenly Father for Who He is, and I ask my Heavenly Father to have mercy on my earthly father, and I ask my Heavenly Father to help me be the father I wish I'd have had.