I admit it, it was afraid of the prospect of changing diapers. When my first child was born, I told my wife I needed to change that first diaper so I could conquer my fears from the get-go. But I had not done my homework. I was not prepared for meconium. It was more than I had bargained for – much more. But meconium was not the most shocking aspect of becoming a father. Most unexpected was the realization that my children would look at me, the way I had looked at my own father. I never for an instant believed that he did not know how to handle any and every situation. He always seemed to have a plan, to have things under control — except that is when he attempted to fix household appliances.
But as a new dad, I was painfully aware that I did not know how to handle any and every situation. I did not always have a plan, nor did I have things under control. As a child my confidence in my father made the uncertain certain, and made the impossible possible. He taught me to plan, to write, to teach. He taught me the importance of serving others, and in particular, of serving Christ. He had his faults to be sure, but I am thankful to be my father’s son. His shoes were very big. I sat with him as he drew his last breath in this life. I was surprised by an overwhelming sense of being untethered as he left us. Though I was almost fifty years old with seven children of my own, the thought of a world without my father seemed unexpectedly daunting.
Our fathers define us. Either by their place in our lives, or by their absence. Some infused us with strength and confidence, while others saddled us with weakness and insecurity. In one way or another we are all shaped by fatherhood. But no Father-figure has more power to shape us than our Heavenly Father. Unlike earthly fathers, our unbounded faith and confidence in Him is never misplaced. Unlike our own fathers, every promise of His gets kept. No sin or circumstance crashes in to derail his best intentions or unveil some sinister aspect of his character. He is good and his steadfast love endures forever. His mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness is great. There is no shadow of turning with Him. Not one of His promises ever fails and not one of His words ever falls flat. Without Him we are truly untethered.
When Jesus’ disciples came to Him and asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray,” Jesus taught them the pattern of prayer we commonly call, ‘The Lord’s Prayer.’ We have heard it so many times that it is hard to grasp how revolutionary it is. The religious men of Jesus’ day spoke about God as their Father, but they never addressed Him as ‘Father.’ But Jesus taught us that God, our Father, delights in us. He loves for us to draw near. He wants us to call Him, ‘Father.’ He has gone to unimaginable lengths, in sending His only begotten Son, to adopt us as His own. He promises to love us as we have never been loved, care for us, save us, sustain us, instruct us, and give us life.
Fatherhood defines us. And God is the one who defines fatherhood. This Father’s Day, June 16, celebrate the World’s Greatest Father with us as we gather to worship Him as His adopted sons and daughters. River City Reformed Church meets from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock. Click here for directions. Come with a friend and join us for fellowship and worship. We look forward to seeing you there.