Father. Dad. Sit with that image for a moment. Is it good? Bad? Is there anything at all? Whatever our experiences are or were with our fathers, I’d like you to note that, as high of a calling and as noble of a task as fatherhood is, our experience with our fathers is nevertheless an incomplete experience of fatherhood. Yet, we need a complete fatherhood experience. Not that it would simply be good or nice to have – but we need it.
Jesus said in Matt. 23:9, “And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.” Ultimately, we must be pointed toward God in recognition that he is the Father of
fathers – the one who completes our fatherhood experience. This passage was primarily directed at the teachers of the law, yet it nevertheless holds true for us, too. And, as I am finding personally, this is not simply in an intellectual sense. God will do all for us that our fathers couldn’t or wouldn’t do – and more.
How do we do experience this fatherhood practically? I believe it can begin with something as simple as a prayer. And, since my thoughts on this subject have been influenced by authors John Eldredge and Gordon Dalbey, I will close with a suggested prayer from one of them:
“Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me and choosing me before you made the world. You are my true Father – my Creator, my Redeemer, my Sustainer, and the true end of all things, including my life. I love you, I trust you, I worship you ... [And] I need a father. There is so much in me that yet needs fathering. Please father me. Father me. All this I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, with all glory and honour and thanks to him.” Amen.