As I sat in the car at the gas station waiting on my husband to return, I heard a voice behind me yell, "Dad". The young father was just at the hood of my car when he walked back toward the voice returning hand in hand with an eight-year-old girl wearing rolling shoes. He wasn't mad that he was asked to go back for her; he cautiously helped her maneuver past the cars and through the lane of traffic. Before they reached their destination, when she was safely out of the way of traffic, he set her free and encouraged her to go the rest of the way on her own two feet. Isn't that just like a father, I thought. That’s the way father’s parent. A mother may have held on longer than she needed, but a father often knows just the right time to let go.
As Father’s Day comes around again this year, it reminds me of the huge impact a father makes on his children. The statistics are astounding. Here’s just one way to look at what happens when fathers are absent. As fathers have been excluded from their children's lives, with the marriage rate falling and the divorce rate rising, SAT scores have fallen to all-time lows while teen births and the crime rate have exploded. The divorce rate, teen birth rate, and the crime rate each doubled between 1975 and 1990. SAT scores fell in 1975 and then dipped below 900 for the first time in 1980. They have remained at that low level. [Index of Leading Indicators. Washington Times. March 16, 1994.] There are a lot more startling statistics I could throw at you.
At some point in your life it is important for you to take time to reflect on your own father’s impact on you. You need to tally up the good things he taught you and forgive him for any pain he has caused no matter how excruciating that pain may be. All that must take place on some level before you will be ready to move into the most important Father-child relationship of your life.
What happens is that when you were born you did not have a consciousness of God. You did, however, have a lot of needs. You needed someone to take care of your physical needs to survive. You needed love and security. Your parents were the ones who addressed these needs. The better they addressed them, the freer you were to develop and grow into a trusting child. As you were developing consciousness, you began to notice the differences between your mom and dad. You would not be able to put it into words, but you began to depend on them to meet different needs. You received love from you mom and you received value from your dad. If either of your parents failed to deliver these essential needs, you did not develop into a person of confidence.
As you continue to develop spiritually, you are born again. Part of being born again is sensing that you have a New Father. Romans 8:15 says, "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, Abba, Father." I can't describe the huge impact that will be made on your spiritual life when you come to regard God as your Abba Father. You will be transformed.
If our human fathers have a huge impact on how we value ourselves, imagine how transforming it would be to really love God like your Father.