When Father’s Day hurts

Posted on June 17, 2017 · Posted in Parenting

Father’s Day is a pleasant day for me and my brothers. We recall the good example of our dad, his unselfish commitment to us. It is a kind remembrance. But, I also know not everyone has such comforting and grateful memories. For many, this yearly remembrance is a difficult, sad and even bitter time. Fathers don’t always live out their God-given mission of care and protection. Instead of memories of joy, emptiness and discouragement dominate. Thoughts drift towards what could have been, what should have been. Father’s Day becomes a day you could do without.

However, in the midst of the hurt, the Holy Spirit is gracious to remind you that your human father is not the ultimate father. Paul tells the Ephesians:

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.“(3:14-15)

God claims for himself the name of Father for all of his people. He is faithful and committed even when human fathers miss the mark. He is at work caring for you and leaving you a rich inheritance. His name is a name you can bear with pride. His love provides you with an identity that establishes you as a person. At every point where your human father may have failed, God, your heavenly father, gives you his name, his identity, his sacrificial love.

While the hurt from your human father may remain, your heavenly father brings healing and wholeness. You have his promise that he will never forsake you, will never abandon you.

This Father’s Day take joy in the one who has given his Son’s life for you. You have a Father who heals broken hearts and bruised souls. Rejoice this day and everyday in the grace of God, your loving, faithful Father!

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.