When I was in high school, I lived and breathed soccer. I played year round and made the Varsity team in my sophomore year; I started every game, and rarely missed a minute. Our team was young my junior year, but we played like we’d known each other forever. We were on our way to sections if we could just get through these last few games.
On game day against our cross town rivals we could not get it together. This should have been an easy win, but when the whistle blew, we had tied. Not only did this tie embarrass us in front of our peers, but it ruined our chances at going to the section game. It ruined our chances at post-season play; to say I was devastated would be an understatement. Maybe I was being dramatic (okay, I was being very dramatic), but it seemed like my world was over, and when I went home I hid in my room and cried.
I remember going downstairs after a couple hours of wallowing to get a glass of lemonade from the fridge. I pulled out the jug of lemonade and before I could even pour a glass it slipped out of my hands. Lemonade was everywhere: my clothes, the floor, the fridge, the cupboards. And then I burst into tears.
Out of nowhere, my Dad came up behind me, put his hand on my shoulder and said “It’s okay, just go upstairs, I’ll take care of it.” I ran out of the kitchen, up the stairs, and cried myself to sleep. When I awakened a bit later, it was dinnertime. I came downstairs and the kitchen was clean. My Dad was preparing my favorite dinner, and immediately pulled me into a hug. I don’t remember what he said, or if he said anything, but his gestures in this moment were enough to let me know I was loved, and nothing I did or could do, would ruin that.
My Dad could have done a number of different things in these moments, and as a Mom now I can see that what he did was extraordinary. And what he did in that moment and many others throughout my life has shown me how our Father in heaven loves us. I was blessed to have a father who was a great example of how much God loves us, and how no matter what we do, how we fail, or how long we take to get back up, he will always be there.
As a Christian there have been numerous times when I’ve lost the big game, spilled all the lemonade, and hidden in my room and cried, but all of that is more than okay with God, our Father. He is always there just waiting for us to come down the stairs, and enjoy our favorite meal with him. And he is always there for all of his people, just waiting with open arms for them to come back so he can shower them with his love.
I was blessed beyond measure to have the Dad that I did, an amazing example of our heavenly Father, and how he loves us, but I also know that my father is human. All of our fathers, exceptional, or not so great, are human. But we have a Father in heaven that is perfect, and knows us inside and out, and loves us. God is your Father, your heavenly Father who loves you the way an earthly Father does, but so, so much more! The Father’s love is boundless, full of grace, and mercy, and it’s all there for you. If your earthly father was absent, or unkind, or in and out of your life, your heavenly Father was always there. He is not absent, he is more than kind, and he is in your life for good, and he loves you so much.
And if you’ve known the Lord forever, but haven’t quite figured out the Father thing, he is waiting for you. He is waiting for you to rest in his embrace as a child because he cares for you more than any earthly father could. He wants to hear about every little bit of your life, and dry every tear, mend every skinned knee, and be there for every success and failure you’ve ever had, or will have. He wants to be in the stands for every game, and in the seats for every performance: front row center, standing ovation every time. He has no other work to do, but loving you, his child.
So this Father’s Day, let’s celebrate our earthly fathers, but let’s also celebrate that our Father in heaven is the perfect Father, and he is ours.