I have a good father. I realize this makes me lucky. My children have a good father too. Not everyone can say this. I know there will be many tears cried this week over fathers who are absent, disengaged, hurtful and generally not a good picture of the love of God, even though God calls Himself our father. I am sorry. I will remember each of you this Father's Day who wish you had something better to celebrate, and I will pray that God reveals Himself in a new way to you, redeeming the picture of his love that has been so mucked up and broken.
Despite all the ways that the picture of fatherhood hangs askew in our culture, I want to talk about why I think God chose fatherhood as a way to represent Himself to us. A gentle, tender, loving father is the perfect representation of meekness. Meekness is strength under control. My husband is 6'3." When my daughter looks up at him, she sees a force. He is strong. There is no doubt that he could crush her, and yet she trusts him completely. He, this beast of man, is who she turns to every time she wants cuddles.
A father is our first picture of a strength that we can't control. However, a good father controls his strength for us. There is something special about the way a father loves a daughter. He sets aside all the power he is capable of and nurtures the blossoming feminine grace in his little girl, lovingly and with patience. When we catch a glimpse of this kind of love, we have seen something holy: power subjecting itself willingly to grace.
God is a power we can not control. He has a strength that is beyond our comprehension. The concept of a mighty God should terrify all of us. However, God chooses to speak of Himself in terms of meekness. He says He is a father to us. God controls his strength for us, subjecting his power to grace. We can approach God with confidence, not because we can control Him, but because He, in his abundance of love for us, will control Himself.
If there are good fathers in your life, celebrate them well this week. Ask God to show you ways that they are a picture of Him, and then specifically thank them for the ways they teach you more about how God loves us as a father. If you do not have a good father to celebrate this week, ask God to show you good fathers around you, men who do represent God's love in a tangible way. Thank God for these pictures of His love in your life and ask him to help you think more of them than of your own father when you think of His love. Take the time to encourage these men, thanking them for helping redeem the marred picture of fatherhood you have encountered.