I told a girl in my cabin at our Student Ministry winter weekend that I thought there was a reason God referred to himself as father. I think (in my pea sized intellect) that God looked into what would become of the word “father”, and to the girls whose hearts would be crushed by the word, and he knew many girls would need another father.
I have sat in many a cabin weeping with girls who just wanted to be loved by their daddy with little mention of their mother (not to say we arent important cause we are). Dads have this role that is irreplaceable in a woman’s life. They set the tone for their daughters and sadly research supports this. Most of us have seen the data. When fathers are absent teenage pregnancy, depression, and drug use goes up. In fact I have yet to watch an episode of 16 and pregnant (Yes I watch the show… read now judge later) where the dad is in the picture. I have yet to see a loving father and what is the number one thing the pregnant teen says on camera, “I want to give my child what I never had, a father, two parents”. So they try to make it work with a pre-pubescent boy who cares more about his brand of deodorant than he does about the mother of his child.
I can’t help but watch and ask God why father? Why call yourself the word that is associated with more pain, more heartache, more aches than any other word in the dictionary? He could have made up a new word. I’m pretty sure God has the power to make up words, I mean he created the heavens, so a new word would probably be pretty easy. I ask and I question and His answer to me is always seems the same, “they need at least one loving father” and I can see it, the heart hole that slowly starts to mend when I tell a little girl that her daddy on earth may have gotten it all wrong but her one in heaven never will. I can see the spark of interest when I refer to God not as a ruler but as a father, and I can see my own walls fall down when I picture God as my own father, laughing with me over one of our famous dates. It’s a big word; it’s a heavy word, with lots of meaning and baggage for lots of girls, and so only one God had enough love and grace to put the word back to its proper strength. Only a generous God who cared about our sinful hearts could look into us and say, “I want to set this right… For her.”
I don’t know where father’s day lands for you. I don’t know if it’s a painful day with lots of bad memories, or if you will celebrate it with some great men, but no matter where you are the word father says a lot more about God than it does about the guy who screwed it up for you. The word father means He wanted to make it personal, He wanted to make you whole, and He wanted to give you such an absolute understanding of how much he loves you that He used the word with the most weight. Hear him when He says, “I am your father and I have loved you with an everlasting love.”
Stats can be found here http://www.fatherhood.org/media/consequences-of-father-absence-statistics
Tara - Wonderful work, Tindell! As I read this I thought about what my Sunday school teacher mentioned today, we tend to try and throw our ideas of ‘father’ at God as if He needs to measure up to our worldly standards, when we should do the opposite and be looking at our fathers to be more like God the Father (leaving room for them to fall and for us to extend grace of course). As a girl whose dad hasn’t been involved in her life, I know how difficult the road can be to try and see God as Father, but as you already said, there is a spark that starts when we realize He is our PERFECT Heavenly Father. SO much better. <3
Anna Etheriedge - Beautifully said, I love your blog!
Tindell Baldwin - Thank you Anna!