This is far from a disregard of my dad-dad. The one I lovingly call father, daddy, daddyyyyy, and just now, finally, give him something like the number of hugs he deserves. Yes, Randall has done for me what I can’t ever repay, and I mean that. I mean it because I’ve thought of the prospect and it’s truly hopeless. No one on this earth has been more generous towards me without even the slightest hint of holding it over my head. I sigh to think of it. He’s too good to me. He’s given his time and his words and his money. I can honestly say that he’s seemed to give all that he knew to give. All.
But tonight I want to talk about my other dad. He gave me something Daddy couldn’t give me, didn’t give me. A lot of somethings.
There’s a truth I need to get out of the way. My dad raised me to believe in the Lord. He sure did. Prayers over meals and Bible readings as a family at night. Church Sunday morning, night, Wednesday night. I’ll never forget his favorite song, “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less.”
And on some day roundabout 2001, he started to walk away from what he first taught me to believe.
Pause with me. I love my dad. I mean I love my dad. As my dad, my earthly dad.
But he is not the same yesterday, today, and forever.
He is not faithful. And I mean faithful, perfectly faithful.
He did not save my soul, could not save my soul, even with good intentions. And today, fallen away, he still has those good intentions for me. Yet they are not enough. Not enough to hold me up in this world of uncertainty. They were not enough when he told me about the Lord, and they are not enough when he told me that the Lord was not, in fact, the Lord.
This is for those of you who had the best dad in the whole world, and for those with pretty mediocre dads. For those of you with horrible fathers, I’m writing to you. And if you never knew him? I have news for you.
There is no fatherless child.
“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost. –Matthew 18:12-14
Any little one, my friend. That’s you.
One of my all-time favorites. God’s like “C’mon, man!”:
“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” — Matthew 7:9-11
Who are you? This is who you are. Whose you are.
“How great is the 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
I see all kinds of posts about great dads, and I’m happy for that. I’m glad that dads out there love their kids, and that their kids know it! How lovely, on this earth, to witness the love of a father in the flesh. But your hope – your hope needs to be in nothing less than the Lord Jesus – His righteousness – that free gift that the Father credits to your account out of His great, great mercy and love. And if your dad isn’t so great, the hope wrapped up in that prior truth cannot be overstated for you. Let me tell you something. God made fathers to be good fathers. His intention is that we obey. But we are fallen and we do fall. God’s plan and command for fathers to follow His instructions for how to be good fathers doesn’t result in fathers actually being perfect fathers. Don’t you know that? Have you never before told the Lord God “no.”? We are foolishly bold. And we are hopelessly imperfect even when we try to say, “yes.”
My point, my point. It’s that if your father is a bad one, that’s not the end of it for you. Children need dads, but they don’t. I mean that, yes, God wants dads to be good dads. But I mean no, there is no fatherless child that the Lord God Himself cannot uphold. He’s going to carry you. I want you to have faith in that. No human, no matter the relation, is necessary to the salvation of your soul other than the Lord Jesus Christ. If you’re a dad, be the kind of dad that points your child to Him! If you’re a child with a great dad, be thankful! You have received quite an earthly gift. If you have no dad, or wish you didn’t, be yet thankful. For in heaven there’s one Dad, and on earth He’s still here for you, and when He calls you up there won’t be any partiality. Your precious soul is in His hands, and He has not forgotten you.
What am I saying? We can’t lose, folks. In the Father’s house, there are many mansions. If it weren’t so, Jesus wouldn’t have said it. And all this sadness will fade away in the light of His perfection. And we get to be with Him.
There is one God, one Father of all, one Redeemer. He is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. He is sufficient, but not only that, His grace abounds. He will satisfy. He’s the same. In a world where nothing seems consistent or absolutely true, His words stand steady. He is who He says He is, and He does what He says He’ll do. He is everything you need in a dad.
Notice need. If you are a parent, or you’re old enough to soak wisdom in when you watch them, you see that the things children need is quite often not what they want. In your fallen state, God is not all you want in a father. He will not always feed you sugar, and He will not always give you your way. But He will do what an earthly father can’t – He’ll discipline with perfection, be patient to the farthest extent, give chance after chance in wisdom – not in a spirit of enabling, only give you challenges and burdens that He will give you strength to bear, and in the end (yes!!! In the end of ends!) He’ll save you in a way more mighty than Superman. When you sit before that Judgement Seat and He opens that book, Jesus’ sacrifice will be declared worthy, and when He reads your name engraved on that page – a proof of your acceptance of the sacrifice of the Lamb – the Father’s just wrath will never be poured out on you. In fact, can you imagine what He’ll say??? Those precious words that every single child has always craved from a father.
Yes. Sweet victory, bought for me. Paid for with His own blood, after being insulted, bruised, and beaten by those He died to save. Yes, that victory bought for me, given of grace; amazing grace. I get to fall on my knees in astonishment that although while I was yet a sinner, He died for me. And the last words I hear before entering that final, never-ending kingdom are these:
“Then the King will say to them on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’”
“If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself.” -2 Timothy 2:11-13
Sweetheart, get adopted (Romans 8:15; Ephesians 1:5).