“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise)’ “ that it might go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” – Ephesians 6:2-3
It is most difficult to enter life without an earthly father! In fact, it is impossible! Only one man was able to do this: Jesus Christ. All the rest of us have biological fathers.
You may not have ever met your father, especially, if he died before you were born, gave you up for adoption, or abandoned you when you were months old. If you knew your father, biological or adopted, he was vitally instrumental to your upbringing, primarily because he was the first representative of what God the Father is to you.
For better or worse, your first concept of “Father” was your earthly father. Because God is named and is the quintessential Father, all earthly fathers bear true or false witness of God the Father whether they wish it or not.
Fathers are supposed to do the same things for you: love and nurture you, and admonish and discipline you; for in essence you begin as a wild plant or a wild animal. After all you are born with sin in you; you have the nature of both beginning and remaining “wild,” until and if tamed by the love and grace of God the Father.
What would you do without your father? This is a heart-felt question which pricks the heart of many a child or young adult when coming to the point of contemplating who they are and why. Looking through this prism of acknowledged sin in themselves and sin in their father, and evaluating with humility who their father is to them and who God the Father is to them, is something you must do.
One of my very close college roommates struggled his whole life with understanding God as a loving Father, because of his own alcoholic and tyrannical father. He literally struggled continuously to see God as a good and kind Father, because of the completely opposite behavior of his earthly father.
This created a demanding strife which impacted him his entire life. Many cannot understand such a struggle unless they themselves had such a negative experience with their own father; one which was never reconciled.
On the opposite of this spectrum my daughter through marriage had an idyllic relationship with her father who went home to glory at age 61 due to life long kidney disease. They were not only father and daughter, but best friends. She adored him, and he her.
Needless to say she has always had a glorious view of her Heavenly Father and an intimacy that cannot be shaken due to such a relationship with her earthly father.
God’s mercy and grace has the capability of breaking through the bad example of earthly fathers, by showing Himself authentically and powerfully to His adopted children through His Son Christ Jesus. It is a formative advantage to any child to have a “bridge” to their Heavenly Father in the example of a godly earthly father, though he is a true sinner; yet a sinner saved by grace.
This Fathers’ Day, June 20, may be difficult or marvelous for you in honoring and/or remembering your earthly father. In God your Father you can be grateful you had a father, good or bad, and that once adopted into God the Father’s family through Jesus, you have the capacity to love him even as God loved a sinner like you.
Since God commands you “Honor your father and mother,” it is for you to determine according to your faith in God’s Word how you indeed “honor your parents in the Lord.” This is a consideration and task for you of the highest priority. The Scripture adds that this is the first commandment with a promise: that is, “That it might go well with you and you might live long upon the land.”
“How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That he should give his only Son
To make a wretch his treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss—
the Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.”
(1st verse of Stuart Townsend’s hymn, “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us,” 1990)