Father’s Day is always a special occasion each year as we honour our earthly fathers. For some it’s clearly a difficult day as they remember those fathers who have passed into eternity. Our fathers are precious to us. My adopted father who lives in Leicester, England, has been a wonderful dad to me. He, along with my mother, chose to adopt me at 8 weeks old.
My father was the one who gave me my love for football by taking me to watch the current Premier League Champions, Leicester City, as a boy. He took me on all kinds of adventures and to a christian boys camp every summer. As I grew older he encouraged me as I became a retailer and later as I headed into ministry. My Dad has been a great father to me. Thank you Dad!
As I grew older I really wanted to know who my real father was. I wanted to know my original roots – where was I from? Did I have another family somewhere? I would often see people on the television and wonder ‘could that be my Dad?’ I felt like there was a gaping hole in my life. The little information I had was my father’s name and that he was an American from Omaha, Nebraska and had been based at the US Airforce base in Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire.
In January 2001, whilst in Toronto, I received a powerful prophetic word: ‘‘everything is right on but knowing who your Father is – is important.’ Following this I started to search in earnest and eventually I found him in the US phone book and called him. I simply asked him if he was based at Bruntingthorpe in the winter of 1962. When he confirmed it I said, ‘I think I’m your son!’ He was amazed and so happy. We are like ‘peas in a pod.’ There is no denying I am his son – as several members of the family said ‘there’s no need for DNA!’
(My Father and I in Omaha in 2016)
It was my joy to meet him in San Francisco in Sept 2002. Imagine meeting your father for the first time at the age of 39? It was incredible. But the story doesn’t end there. I later discovered that my father’s family were Syrian immigrants through Ellis Island, New York. The family were originally from a small town called Beit Lahia, in the Gaza Strip near Mount Hermon. The family tree can apparently be traced back to Solomon himself. Wow! I was even more amazed to discover that the original family name was ‘Khouri‘ which means ‘priest‘. My ancestry is from the priesthood. Isn’t God amazing?!
DO YOU KNOW WHO YOUR FATHER IS?
You see over the years and in fact from before I was born, Father God had his eye on me (and you!);
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:13-16)
On my adoption information sheet my birth mother said ‘it would be in the baby’s interests if he had a Father.’ How right she was! The day I was adopted I gained an earthly father but was also positioned to discover my Heavenly Father who is:
‘A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows is God in His Holy dwelling’ (Psalm 68:5)
And who promises:
‘I will be a Father to you and you will be my sons and daughters says the Lord Almighty’ (2 Corinthians 6:18)
We live in what has been described as an orphan generation because so many father’s (and sometimes mothers) are either absent or have deserted their children. Sometimes this has been through no fault of their own so we must be careful not to judge. Sadly some have grown up with a poor representation of Father God. God is NOT like our earthly father’s however great they may have been. He is the most amazing loving gentle Father.
We need to understand that our parents made lots of mistakes, often completely unintentionally. They were wearing ‘L plates’ – they were just ‘kids who grew up and had kids’. As a parent, and grandparent now, I can say in all honesty that nothing prepares you for being a parent. When you were growing up your parents may have been going through stuff. They may have known no better. They didn’t do any classes. So please – don’t JUDGE – instead make a choice to FORGIVE.
WHERE WOULD I BE WITHOUT FATHER GOD?
Since an early age – He has been everything to me. My Father and my closest friend. He is one I totally rely on because He is completely dependable. He has never let me down – He is the good good Father.
Can I ask you, ‘do you know who your father is?’
God is our true Father. Jesus came to reveal Him as Father.
SIX MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT FATHER GOD
Here are six common ones:
1. God Is A Harsh Disciplinarian
Some will have experienced parents who were aggressive, harsh, unloving, strict, moody, unjust, unkind, inconsistent and even abusive leaving us with the impression that nothing we ever do is right!
God is NOT like that. He is perfect love. He is slow to anger and abounding in love. He loves and accepts you and I even when we mess up.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)
He loves us so much and calls us His children. He is the most amazing and loving Father that has ever existed. Simply put – He is never harsh and He loves YOU. He is for you and not against you.
2. God Isn’t There When I Need Him
Many children grow up experiencing the absence of a father (sometimes tragically through death) or through the demands of parents work life, career, leisure activities, hobbies etc. All that some have is memories of broken promises and hours of loneliness & neglect. Others have memories of parents who never showed up for sports events, school plays or even when present were pre-occupied with a myriad things.
Maybe you just can’t seem to feel God and He appears absent. You were used to that as you grew up. The truth is this – God isn’t pre-occupied – His chief occupation is you. The Bible says that He is omnipresent – meaning He is everywhere present! It also suggests that He is thinking loving thoughts towards you.
God is very much present and just as much present now as He was from your very first steps, through the highs and the lows, the victories and failures, the hurts, battles, disappointments and loneliness. He was there then and He is still with you today.
God has ALWAYS been there when I’ve needed Him. At some of my lowest points and during some of the fiercest battles, bereavement and loss, illness & difficulties. He has always been there. Ever present.
God needed to remind Joshua several times that He was with him and would never leave him: ‘As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5)
Jesus’ final words to his disciples were these, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:20)
Maybe it’s time you put that misconception to bed once and for all.
3. God Breaks His Promises
Some of us have experienced fathers who’ve promised the earth and failed to deliver anything! In fact as we look back we see a litany of broken promises. Whether it be at birthdays, Christmas, holidays, trips, toys, games or even time. They kept promising but failed to deliver. Tomorrow simply never comes!
Maybe you have spent your early years being let down and seeing promises broken. It becomes part of who we are. The misconception is that, ‘God cannot be trusted to keep His promises’. Yet His Word states:
“The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.” (Psalm 145:13)
God always does what He says! Father God does what He promises!
“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:20)
He NEVER breaks his promises.
NB: Maybe you have experienced seemingly unanswered prayers. It’s easy to feel that God has let us down and maybe been a ‘bad bad Father.’ We must learn to trust Him with all our heart (Prov. 3:5-6) for He most certainly knows best! I’m sure, like me, as you look back – you’re glad He knew best and said NO at certain times! That’s what a good Father does.
4. God Is Mean
I don’t know what your childhood experiences were like? My Dad was obsessed with paying off his mortgage as soon as he could and so it seemed like we experienced austerity for most of my early childhood. One packet of digestive biscuits and one bottle of homemade lemonade to last a week! Nothing else to snack on!!
Maybe whenever you asked for something you were always turned down and then you’d see your parents wasting their money on non essentials. God isn’t mean. He is a good good Father:
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32)
He’s already been so generous in blessing us with forgiveness, mercy, love & grace so He’s unlikely to withhold anything else we need. Perhaps your parents were thoughtless and selfish. Psalm 103 brings fresh perspective to the generosity of God. Why don’t you check it out in The Message version. He’s a good good Father!
5. God Is Distant
You will often here people say, ‘We’re not a very huggy family’ – my adopted family were like that!
I can’t remember my parents saying ‘I love you’ I may be doing them a disservice but I don’t think they did. In fact I rarely remember them praising me at all. Those words of affirmation are so important for children as they grow up. A minister friend told me at my mother’s funeral that my mum was so proud of me. Sadly I never heard those words from her lips during my life. I loved my mum very much. She was an amazing women whose faith in God has been an inspiration to me all my life. It was incredibly strong.
Boys especially suffer when:
- They receive no physical affection from their fathers.
- They never hear ‘Son I love you.’ – Jesus needed to hear it’ (baptism and transfiguration) ‘This is my son whom I love – with Him I am well pleased.’ We need to hear it too.
- Little compassion is shown when they are upset or hurt ‘don’t cry son – real men don’t cry!’ Jesus wept. But our culture tells us that big boys don’t cry. Those boys may grow up never letting their true emotions out which has the potential to create all kinds of difficulties.
As men we often find it easy to hug our daughters and tell them we love them. Our sons need this too. We must model father – son intimacy to our children. This will help them to discover intimacy with God and to truly know Him as Father – loving and being loved by Him. This is critical as we will not always be there for them.
One of my greatest longings was to be more intimate with God in worship and prayer. The breakthrough came at the ‘Catch The Fire’ conference in Telford, England in 1995. In a moment God dealt with the subconscious rejection I had felt from my parents. I forgave my parents and opened my heart to God’s love. I cried and cried as God dealt with the hurt and rejection I felt deep down and God set me free to discover the most incredible intimacy and relationship with Father God. I find it easy to come into His presence now. He is truly the good good Father.
6. God Doesn’t Accept Me
We live in a performance orientated society. You have to do well at school, make the team, use your talents, be loved, look great, be successful, make money etc. I spent many years trying to gain my parents love & acceptance. But my younger brother was the the special one! It appeared to me, as we grew up, that he could do no wrong and I could do no right. I wondered how my mother could make that call (if only she knew!). We laugh about it now.
I’ve realised since that my parents had completely different interests to me but similar ones to my brother and that actually, they didn’t know how to show their love & acceptance to me.
We can allow our view of God to be influenced by how our parents responded to us. The truth is this:
- God loves us and accepts us just as we are.
- God loves us unconditionally
- God’s love is not based on our performance – He just loves us! Yes – even you! Nothing you can do/achieve/work at – can make Him love you any more or any less!
- Rebels – even in spite of your past rebellion – HE LOVES YOU!
You may feel that God doesn’t love you or accept you. That’s how it is. In fact how could He possibly accept you? The Psalmist stated this truth:
“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will accept me.”
Could you possibly be wrong in your thinking?
DO YOU KNOW WHO YOUR FATHER IS?
God wants to be Father to you today. He wants to restore what is broken. In the Garden of Eden – Adam and Eve, through their own sin, caused us all to be born as orphans, separate from Father God. We have been robbed of a close relationship with Him. Jesus came to restore the relationship with Father God that was lost in the garden.
1. Acknowledge Your Need
Do you know who your Heavenly Father is? Have you accepted some misconceptions about Him that are simply not true? First base is to acknowledge that and ask God to help you see things differently and for Him to restore what has been lost or stolen.
2. Be Honest With God
Tell him how you feel – many of us have been taught from an early age to suppress our emotions. Many have hidden them away and stored negative feelings of anger, hurt, disappointment, fear, bitterness & guilt since childhood. Friends – let God have it all.
3. Forgive Those Who Have Hurt You
Before God – forgive your father/mother/step parent or anyone else involved in the misconception, for the wrong they’ve done whether intentionally or unintentionally.
4. If You’ve Sinned – Ask Father’s Forgiveness
Ask God to forgive you for your wrong attitudes, bitterness, hate, judgement and the resulting pride, jealousy, bondage, unforgiveness, independence and even separation. NB: It is wrong for a Christian to be so angry with a parent that they won’t forgive them or even speak to them. This is a snare of the enemy and will only damage you and hold you back.
5. Receive The Father’s Love
Important to fill the void left by all the bad stuff. Fill the void with His love. There is a great prayer in Ephesians 3:16-21. Make it your prayer.
6. Think God Thoughts
Destructive ways of thinking about ourselves often build up when we have been hurt so get into the Word of God, quote positive scripture at negative thoughts and lies & therein renew your mind.
7. Honour & Bless Your Parents
Today is potentially the first day of a new life of freedom and joy. Make a decision to break the cycle of wrong relationships – be a blessing to your parents.
“Honour your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”” (Ephesians 6:2-3)
DO YOU KNOW WHO YOUR FATHER IS?
If you haven’t worked it out yet….the truth is this. God is, as the song lyrics state, ‘A good good Father…..YES HE IS!!’