Wait ‘Til Your Father Gets Home

If you, O LORD, keep a record of sins, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness.  Psalm 130:3–4 NIV

“Wait ’til your father gets home” was not a threat I was able to use on my children. Their father, you see, was—and still is—a softy. I was the bad guy who doled out punishment and discipline.

But there was one time I was sure this easygoing husband of mine would crack and lose his temper with an errant, strong-willed, rebellious child.

One evening when my daughter was in high school, I’d taken her to the mall to do some school shopping. She’d just about finished when my aching feet drove me to the car to wait while she picked up some makeup. I waited. And waited. And waited. The mall was closing down and still no daughter. Where was she?

I returned to the store to find out. Well, she’d picked up some makeup, all right—and tried to get out of the store without paying.

I was beyond furious. How could she do something like this? How could she do this to me? I mean, after all, I was a Sunday school teacher and Bible club teacher, choir director, Christian writer. Wasn’t I supposed to have perfect Christian children? What would people say? What would they think of me? I’ll never forgive her for this! I vowed silently as I drove home, shaking with rage.

“When we get home,” I hissed, “you will tell your father what you’ve done.”

I sent her in ahead of me so I could try to calm down and give her time to tell him without me there. But when I walked in, the scene that greeted me was not what I’d had in mind. There, curled up in her father’s lap, was our remorseful child.

I was stunned. How could he open his arms to her after what she’d done? How could he forgive her just like that? At that moment I don’t know who I was madder at—her or him.

That was more than twenty years ago. Since then, our daughter has grown up to be quite the woman. While fulfilling her roles as wife and mother, she earned her teaching degree as a full-time student with close to a 4.0 GPA. Her college recognized her with its “Heart of Gold” award for her work with a support group for parents of autistic children. She’s now an awesome high school math teacher who asks to work with students who struggle with learning math because she, too, found math difficult when she was in high school.

It took me years before I recognized what I really saw that night when I walked in the house: a perfect picture of God’s unconditional love for us.

Thank You, Abba Father, that we can curl up in Your lap any time we need forgiveness. Amen.

Read and reflect on Luke 15:11–32.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Setting the Bar

why father doesn't see kids

“Abba, Father, all things are possible for you.”–Jesus, as quoted in Mark 14:36 ESV

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”  ­–Romans 8:15 ESV

When my brother Pete was in high school, he was returning home after a date when he ran into a stone wall. Now, it wasn’t a tall, stone-and-mortar wall, but a short wall built with stones laid one on top of the other. The car didn’t have much damage to it. After all, it was a 1957 Oldsmobile made of steel. In other words, it was a tank.

My brother woke my father up with the words, “Dad, I need you.”

Why I remember this incident after more than 54 years, I have no idea. But the words, “Dad, I need you” were imprinted indelibly on my mind.

I’ve been thinking about fathers and the roles they play in our lives. And about God as our heavenly father.

Your perception of God as your father is influenced by your own relationship with your earthly father. That’s why people who experienced abusive fathers or have had a bad relationship with their earthly fathers have a difficult time comprehending God as their father.

God set the bar for fathers. Let’s look into His Word to see what He has to say about His role as our father.

First of all, Jesus called Him “Abba Father” – a term designating a close, intimate relationship. It translates “Daddy” and gives us a glimpse into the Father-Son relationship of the first two Persons of the Trinity.

But did you know that believers can also call God “Abba Father?” The Holy Spirit dwelling in us seals our adoption as sons and daughters of God. (see above two verses)

OK, enough preaching. Let’s look at what a father does.

First of all, a father provides. Food, clothing, shelter, guidance, wisdom. God provided for the children of Israel as they trekked through the wilderness: water from rocks, manna from heaven, and when they wanted meat, quail. He guided them with the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day. When it stopped, they stopped. When it moved, they moved.

God continues to provide for His children today. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

How has God provided for a specific need of yours?

Second, a father helps. Like my father did when my brother woke him up in the middle of the night, God will answer when we call to Him. In fact, He invites us: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (Psalm 50:15).

How has God helped you in your day of trouble?

Third, a father disciplines. Discipline is not always punishment, although punishment may be part of discipline. Its purpose is to train us to live right, to strengthen us, to make us into the persons God wants us to be. “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not loathe His reproof; for the LORD disciplines those He loves, as a father the son in whom he delights (Proverbs 3:11–12).

How has God’s discipline made you a better person?

And finally, a father loves. Sacrificially (John 3:16), unconditionally (Romans 5:8), steadfastly (Psalm 36:5), and eternally (Psalm 136:1).

When I read Zephaniah 3:17, I see God as a father standing over the crib of His child, watching him sleep; holding him close and soothing him, softly crooning a lullaby.

You, child of God, are that child.

 No matter how faithful or unfaithful our earthly fathers are, God, thank You for being the kind of father each of us needs. Amen.

 Read and meditate on Zephaniah 3:17:

“The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.