Fatherhood is definitely not an easy topic to think or converse about for the majority of people in our current age. Many wise people have stated their belief that the downfall of modern society is directly linked with the erosion of the true meaning of fatherhood. Normally I don’t like to put all of my eggs in one basket, but on this particular topic, my observations and my personal experiences confirm this hypothesis. The father is meant to be the protector and guide for his family; the rock holding them together through love. And beyond that, our earthly fathers are meant to be a sign and symbol of the reality of the love the Heavenly Father has for each and every one of us, His beloved children. In the end, a crisis of fatherhood leads to a crisis of faith.
Such happy topics for Father’s Day! I don’t begin with all the doom and gloom to bring you down on what should be a day of joyful celebration. I bring these truths to your attention so that healing can begin. Even though fatherhood may be a dying art in our society, we must always remember that the Fatherhood of God is not affected by the actions of humans. God remains a loving, caring, nurturing Father to us all, even when we reject Him, beat Him and scorn Him. Never once does the Father withdraw His love from us. Jesus Christ is living proof of the promise of the Father: a promise of eternal love and the fulfillment of every desire.
As a woman who comes from a broken home, my parents being divorced since I was two years old, I know first hand the wounds which our earthly fathers can inflict upon our hearts. I also know, however, the mercy and healing which the Heavenly Father brings to those who are in pain. The healing process is one that is lifelong (although in the impatience of my youth, I most definitely wish it would happen in an instant). I wish to share with you today one of the ways the Father has brought healing to my life in recent months. If we truly trust in God, we can see Him working through every part of our lives. Enjoy the story….
In March of this year, I chose to leave a teaching position I had at a Catholic high school after months of being stressed out and anxious. The job just wasn’t for me. The stress of the situation actually ended up leaving me with some medical issues. After a substantial amount of blood work, an endoscopy and a colonoscopy, the doctors determined that I was suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). It was great to finally have a diagnosis, but the bills from all the procedures totaled around $5,000. I was the lucky duck who got to pay the $3,000 deductible for our family plan. I was on my dad’s insurance at the time and after talking to him (and freaking out quite a bit over the high amount I owed), he agreed to pay half of the deductible.
Keep in mind that at the time I got this bill, I had literally just quit my teaching job and was about to get married in two months. Up until then I had gotten through life, including college, debt free. As you can imagine, I was not very happy about these bills. The money from my dad, which I thought was only fair since I had to pay the entire deductible for the family, was going to help quite a bit.
Fast forward to three weeks before the wedding… I was on the phone with my dad and he brought up the medical bill situation. He then proceeded to inform me that he was no longer going to help me pay the bills. He said I should just set up a payment plan and pay it off little by little. It was not so much the fact that I now had more bills which upset me, but the fact that once again my father had gone back on his word, which ripped my heart apart. And, three weeks before my wedding. My husband and I are both theology majors – he works as a youth minister and I work as a school teacher – these bills were going to take a lot out of our finances.
My (then) fiancé and I prayed furiously about all of this (in between my bouts of crying and fits of anger). God is good and the Father always takes care of his children. I talked to the financial aid office at the hospital where my largest bill was from and they sent me a packet to apply for help paying off the bill. In the end, I received a letter from them telling me that my bill of $3,700 was going to be paid in full! My first thought when I heard the news was that the Father had kept his promise, even when my earthly father was not able to do so.
Hopefully most of you do not end up in a situation such as this. Even if you don’t, we all need to remember that the Father always keeps His promises. He has promised to love and care for us….forever! He is not going back on that promise. He sent His only Son to show us, to prove to us, that He means to keep His promises. In the end, however, it is up to us to accept the Word He speaks and to let it transform our lives!