By Scott Vair | President
Sunday, June 15, is Father’s Day. It’s a holiday that will be celebrated in over 50 countries. As I contemplate the day and what it means, this morning I asked my daughters what Father’s Day means to them. As we were walking to school, their response was that it’s a time of celebration. As 7-year-old Norah put it, “It’s a time to celebrate what a great dad we have. You’re smart, you’re strong, you do stuff with us - you’re awesome!” My response was of course a big smile and to give a hug.
But for others, I realize, Father’s Day is a time of grieving, a time of regret, a time of wanting, a time of bitterness. It can be a time when those without fathers feel the loneliness and emptiness of death or abandonment, and possibly for others the weight of sin.
As I was talking to Norah about Father’s Day, I got to thinking - what makes a good dad? What makes me worth celebrating? What are the characteristics of a good father? Evidently being “strong, smart, and doing stuff” are on the list (in reality I’m neither very strong nor am I all that smart – but I guess those qualities change in the eyes of a 7-year-old). But what else what makes a good dad?
So, I looked for answers in Scripture. What are the characteristics of God the Father, and how do they speak to being a father?
In my study, despite how often I disappoint and stray from what He desires from me, Father God is compassionate, forgiving, and He desires goodness for me. He is faithful, never leaving or abandoning me, never casting me aside. He is merciful, saving me when I don’t deserve to be saved. He is just, providing loving correction when I need it most.
But most importantly, He loves me - no matter what - with a love that flows from grace that I do not deserve and cannot earn. No matter what I do, he will love me forever. I am a permanent part of his family.
As a Dad, clearly I am to love my kids, unconditionally. But frankly, that’s not always easy.
I mess up – a lot.
I don’t love – a lot.
I don’t forgive – a lot.
I am selfish – a lot.
I will, without a doubt, let them down.
As much as I want to be the perfect Dad, I am far from it. There is only one who is. Only our eternal Father in heaven can meet the needs of my children perfectly.
This year for Father’s Day, it is my prayer that I can help my kids celebrate the perfect Father. The one who really is strong, who really is smart, and who really does love perfectly – all the time, without exception, without ceasing, and without them having to do a single thing to earn it.
On June 15, over 100 million children will wake up with no earthly father. No cards, no gifts, no celebration. But that is not the full story. They too have a Father in heaven that loves them perfectly, always and forever.
“How great is the love the Father has for us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” - 1John 3:1a
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” - Psalm 68:5
This year, will you join me in celebrating the Father to the Fatherless?
Will you pray with me that the millions of fatherless children around the world will come to know their Father in heaven who loves them, who will never forsake them?
While we work to serve these children, while we seek to help restore and provide hope and help, it is God, our Father and their Father – who heals the wounds of all hearts.
And for those of us with this great privilege to be called “Dad,” will you pray that we would be the men He has called us to be, through Him who strengthens and sustains us?
He is a Father worth celebrating! May we be a reflection, a small taste, of His great love for our own children…and for those without.
To celebrate the fathers in your life this Father’s Day, won’t you consider partnering with us to raise $3,000 for Ebenezer Bible Church in South Africa? The money will help provide food, medical care, education, love, and the hope of the Gospel for 22 children in the partnership. Give now and receive a printable certificate to present on Father’s Day to the special men in your life. Click here to donate.
Also, please enjoy scrolling through these photos of children and caregivers at Ebenezer Bible Church.