“Father…” I choked on the word as Roger and I sang a worship chorus with a small congregation in Kauai. I was a new believer at the time, and I still associated the word with my personal experience.
I love my father, and the Lord brought peace and great healing to our relationship before Dad passed into eternity. But for a very long time our relationship was a source of deep hurt.
DISTORTING THE GIFT
Although God gave us the gift of family, when fathers’ hearts are not turned toward their children, that gift becomes distorted. Such families suffer a loss that is difficult to overcome. For some, it is devastating.
It seems a little ironic that such an important facet of our lives — our family relationships — often receive so little strategic planning. As Camp Paradise director Tim VandenBos, who hosts annual father-son and father-daughter retreats, explains:
Most men don’t give fathering the kind of intensity that we give work. We don’t set goals. We just hope it happens.
My father became my dear friend before he passed into eternity, but we had a difficult history. He didn’t become a believer until late in life. Before choosing to follow Jesus, he made some choices that were incredibly destructive to our family. Those choices left marks of anger, rejection, and abandonment.
Consequently, I grew up with a distorted picture of fatherhood. However, when I became a believer, that distorted picture was gradually replaced by one that displayed the beauty of biblical fatherhood. Destructive marks were replaced with marks of grace, acceptance, and faithfulness.