By Nancy Virden (c)2021
Dads are a big deal. We look to them from infancy for the unconditional love we need. Dads speak into our lives and help to shape our beliefs. How we view ourselves and the world, as well as the life choices we make can be powerfully influenced by our dads. They show us by example how to be. Hopefully, they are protectors and wise.
Dads have a high calling to gingerly and tenderly carry the hearts of their wives and children. Statisitics are consistent that high majorities of people who fall into addiction or crime or end up in jail are people with absent fathers. When selfishness leads to emotional or physical absenteeism (or even in the case of accidental death), families suffer.
My dad was a mixed bag; his wrong choices hurt us deeply. For a long time I carried anger and unforgiveness. Who do you experience your dad to be?
In 1970, dad moved us to the country. He loved country life. In one of our good moments when I was a pre-teen, I heard a shout. “Nancy! Come here. Now! Hurry!” I raced outside only to find him staring at something across the yard. About 25 feet away stood a crow just looking at us, completely unconcerned. “Listen,” Dad said.
“Hello,” said the crow. “Hello, hello.”
Hello to grace
God is bigger than dads. He is our shelter, our longing, and our rescue from the ravages of hate and selfishness. As the perfect Father, without sin or angst, his love is eternal and unending. His love is never a violation or load of lies. Because we tend to compare God to earthly fathers, perhaps this information about God’s nature is as shocking as a talking crow.
Yet our heavenly Father sent his Son Jesus to die in our place, sparing us the deadly wages we earn through disobedience. This grace is free to any who will place their trust in the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We cannot please God without believing he exists and knowing he will answer the cries of those who seek him. Yet even when belief is a challenge, he answers sincere prayers of “help me with my unbelief.”
Like my dad, we are all mixtures of honesty and deceit, kindness and severity, presence and absence. Forgiveness is possible as we learn to embrace God’s mercy and grace for ourselves.
Micah 7:18-20 says, “You (God) will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love. Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!”
That promise is for dads, you and me, and anyone who responds to Father God in repentance for sin. He is the perfect, forgiving and patient Father, the one we all long for who will never let us down. We can think of God’s grace as having a name- and that name is Jesus. It is through Jesus that we have a straight path to our unfailing Dad and He to us. -COMMENTS WELCOME
I highly recommend the movie in theaters this week, Show Me the Father. It filled my heart.
Today’s Helpful Word
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
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Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
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