Gabbi walked into the church doors with tears in her eyes. I put my arms around her and asked what was wrong. She tearfully explained that ever since her family had moved, she felt like everything had changed.
Her dad, who used to play with her, read to her, spend time with her, and take her on dates, now seemed to have no more time. His new job was all consuming, and Gabbi felt like she was no longer on his list of cares. Not to mention the new move seemed to stir up loads of conflict among everyone in the family.
Gabbi’s tears now flowed from the pain of missing her dad and feeling like she was no longer loved.
As I pulled Gabbi into a hug, I wondered what kind of advice I was going to give this sweet twelve-year-old girl. I thought it over quickly and gave her the best advice I could come up with. Stick with me, and I’ll share it with you in just a minute.
Can You Relate?
I have a feeling that you can probably relate to this story in some way or another. I know that I can. There have been times in my own life when I’ve felt like my dad wasn’t taking my thoughts or concerns seriously. There have been times when he has told me he would do something and didn’t. There have been times when I’ve felt unloved, uncared for, and not cherished. There been times when I’ve wished that he was a stronger spiritual leader. There have been times when living out “honor your father” felt nearly impossible.
I’m very thankful for my dad and I truly have a great relationship, but it hasn’t (and won’t) always be easy.
Love In Spite Of
I’ve seen so many little girls (like Gabbi) hold on to their pain and heartache and grow into bitter young women. The pain and sorrow they once felt as little girls has hardened their hearts, and they no longer want anything to do with their dads. Their dads have disappointed them in numerous ways, and they finally say, “He doesn’t deserve my love.”
I have a hunch many of you are feeling the exact same way. You feel unloved and uncared for. In your heart of hearts, you just want your dad to truly love and cherish you. You want him to protect you, honor you, hug you, and lead you spiritually. You think, Is that too much to ask for?
As much as I’d love to snap my fingers and give you the daddy of your dreams, I can’t. But even if I could, I’m not so sure that I would. I think God has something so huge that He wants you to consider.
Think About This . . .
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).
While you were yet a sinner, Christ died for you. When you were against God, He loved you. When you didn’t (and still don’t) deserve His love, He gave it you. He loved you in spite of you. He chose to give up His life so that you could have eternal life. You didn’t deserve His love, but He gave it to you anyway.
I wonder if God wants something similar from you. I wonder if just maybe He wants you to love like He loves. To love in spite of. To love whether your dad deserves it or not. To show your love while your dad is still a sinner.
Christ is your ultimate example of what true love should look like. He didn’t just tell you what to do, though; He lived it out. Chances are you probably won’t ever have to physically die for your dad, but you may have to die in another way. You may need to die to your expectations and desires and choose to love anyway.
I’m not saying this is an easy thing to do. Loving your dad when you feel like He doesn’t deserve your love is hard! Thankfully, Christ understands this as well:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15).
Christ understands your struggles toward your dad. He understands your heart’s desires. He has been tempted in all things. Think about it—it wasn’t easy for Jesus to give up His life in a torturous death. But what did He do? He chose to willingly obey His Father and do it anyway.
It won’t be easy for you to show love toward your dad, but will you do it?
Will you follow your Savior’s example and love your dad when he least deserves it?
Are you willing to live out Romans 5:8 and love your dad like Christ loves you?
What is keeping you from surrendering your dreams of a “good father” to God and loving your imperfect dad?
I hope this post will inspire you to show your dad an extra dose of love this Fathers Day. Even in spite of his faults!
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
Photo credit: www.flickr.com | skutchb