On October 26, I met the person that would make the biggest impact upon my life. Because of him, I’ve learned how to care for my wife better. Because of him, I know how to work hard. Because of him, I’ve had the opportunity to understand what it means to pursue all that I do to the glory of God. Because of him, I’ve come to value what it means to daily lay my life down willingly for the sake of others, and to do this out of a Christ-exalting joy. On October 26, 1990, I met my father for the first time, and I thank God for this man every single day of my life.
For thirty years, I’ve seen my father wake up on Sunday mornings at 4:30 am to prepare for his congregation. On weekday mornings, before the sunrise, he would be the first one awake to make our lunches. He was the one who drove my mom, my siblings, and me to work and school. He alone got up to drive us to 6 am basketball practice, swimming practice, even skiing practice, which was roughly an hour and half away from our home. When the school and workday was over, he would pick all of us up. Sometimes he’d treat us to a snack from McDonald’s or something terrible for your body—made more delicious because of how dads always say, “no” when you ask, but then, to surprise you, goes and gets you that carton of fries anyway. My dad was the one I rough housed with, he was the one who would literally pick us up and stand us up to get us out of bed. He was our nightlight when the power went out. He was our constant prayer warrior at dinner and at bedtime. He was our friend when our friends were mean to us. He was our guardian when others bullied us. He is my comforter. He is my support. He is my constant reminder of what it means to be a father now to my own son. There is no man in my life like my father, and I am proud to be his son in every way.
Now, my father is not perfect. I have seen him make horrendous mistakes. I have witnessed his sin, and I have, on multiple occasions, had to forgive him. In fact, to this day, I still see him struggle from time to time. I can see the worry or concern on his face. I continue to admonish him when he seeks to be too self-reliant and self-sufficient in his many responsibilities. I was there those times he yelled at my mother in fury. I’ve heard him gossip. I’ve seen his pride. But these sins more than his graces endear me to him. Why? Because the first person I ever heard the gospel from is my father. The person who reminds me daily why we need grace from someone other than ourselves is my father. The person who’s modelled for me what it looks like to serve his wife, even when it seems impossible, is my father. It is not his sin that I remember the most. But the man that he proves himself to be day-in and day-out despite his sin—a man who has understood without reservation what it means to be saved by the Saviour who poured out his blood for us upon that cross.
I have not been a father for long, but I have a lifetime of experiences to draw from to teach me what it means to love my son with my whole self. I hope in my lifetime that Micah might have many good things to say about me, but above all them, I hope that when I fail him, or when I fail his mother, or when I wrong someone in our church, that he might endear himself to me not because of all the good things I’ve done, but because I have a Saviour who’s died on a cross to persevere me despite all that bad things that I’ve done. I hope that when I act less like a dad and more like his child that he remembers not all the ways that I have outweighed my childish moments with my fatherly moments. Rather, I hope that he remembers that I have a Father in heaven who never steps out of character and who always sets our paths straight. I hope that one day he becomes a devoted man of God. I hope that he’ll learn what it means to serve his church. I hope he learns how to bow his head and confess his heart in prayer. I hope he knows the work that God does in his life every single day, but I also hope that he doesn’t learn to do these things because of how great his dad is. I hope he learns them because of how great his Christ and God is.
Above all these things, one day, I hope that he becomes a father himself. I hope that when that day comes he might look upon his son or daughter and remember me in those moments of imperfection and inadequacy, because it is in our sin that we point our children to the Heavenly Father who has no sin, who loved us to send us his own Son to die on a cross in our place, who raised him from death to life, and who has seated him, now, as the King of kings over all the heavens and the earth. My father did this for me in lifting me up above himself, and it is my hope that I might do the same thing for Micah as he grows in the fear of the Lord.
Fathers, teach your children who your heavenly Father is. Let them know what he has accomplished for us through his own Son with every fibre in your body. Children, remind your father why it is that you love him today. Know that he is far from perfect, but that any love you receive from him in this life is a reflection of the greater and greatest love that you’ve received from him who sits in heaven and calls you his eternal son or daughter.
I leave you with this short poem:
Said the Robin to the Sparrow:
“I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so.”
Said the Sparrow to the Robin:
“Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no Heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and for me.”
May God, our Father, bless you, fathers, this Father’s Day.