I had an amazing father! He loved God passionately and at time recklessly. He would do anything he believed would please God … go anywhere he believed God wanted him to go … and say anything to anybody if God gave him that assignment. He was a righteous, vulnerable, tough and at times unabashedly tender man whom God trusted with tough work.
I had the powerful benefit of living under his blessing. He nurtured and challenged me in ways my mom could not. He held me steady spiritually when nasty politics in ministry was crushing his spirit. I was in Bible School and wanted to quit and help carry his hurts if would have let me. He counseled me not to judge God by the mistakes some of his people made.
My Dad believed in me. He knew God had a purpose for me not yet understood but would come.
He prayed over me at my ordination in 1970. He read me like a book and somehow skipped the unsavory parts of some of it. He was as close to me as God … maybe closer because he was God in human skin.
It was easy to accept God’s grace because of Dad’s grace.
One of his final acts shortly before he was escorted to heaven, deep in a coma, was to rise to consciousness enough to raise a hand slowly until it settled on my shoulder. It was his final blessing.
I don’t gloat over this relationship with my father, because I know so many men who would give their home and all their retirement just to hear their father bless them and acknowledge them and tell them how proud he is with them.
The story has been told of a young man in Madrid who has been separated from his father for several years. The father sought reconciliation but didn’t know what to do except place an ad in the paper saying ”Paco, meet me at the Hotel Montana at noon on Tuesday. All is forgiven. Love, Papa,”
Paco is a common name in Spain and when the father got to the hotel, 800 young men named Paco were waiting for their fathers to welcome them with open hearts.
Dads, verbally bless your children. Open your heart to them. Let them into your life as you get into their world. They need your affirmation and unending love. And if you deal with a father who wasn’t there for you, grieve it, then forgive him and leave it behind.
This generation needs their Dads!
“And you should follow my example, just as I follow Christ’s.”
I Corinthians 11:1 TLB