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Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Reflection on Father's Day

So, it is Father’s Day.  We went to church Saturday night with friends, a really good evening, both because of the friends, and because of a good time with God at worship.  Of course, the theme for the evening had to do with Father’s and Father’s Day.  For a great number of men in America, today will be filled with heartache and memories that are a mixture of joy and pain…because divorce, the loss of a spouse or the death of a father changes everything.  And, those same things also make the day hard for a great number of children this year and widows this year, as well. 

Of course, this blog is most concerned with those whose lives are torn with divorce.  Father’s Day…..and every other holiday……is never the same after a divorce.  Schedules of two different homes have to be considered, some ex-wives are very inconsiderate on Father’s Day, kids may end up being with their dad at the expense of seeing their maternal grandfathers…..or choose between honoring dad or step-dad……it just gets messy.  (Because of this, by the way, the book contains a section at the back with special devotionals for holidays, because they can be tough to get through.)

And sometimes you have to remember that, even though it may feel otherwise, the divorce is from your spouse, not your kids.  It just takes extra effort to keep the divorce from infecting the relationships with your kids.  For any of you who experience Father’s Day as a tough time due to divorce, my prayer is for your peace.  As you decide how to spend the day, I encourage you with two thoughts. 

First, make sure you honor YOUR fathers today.....both your earthly father and your Heavenly Father.  Let your dad know you love him….or, if he has passed away……dedicate some time to remembering some special things about your dad….whether or not he was a “good” dad.  Remember, also, to honor your Heavenly Father.  Worship Him, and let God know just how much you appreciate being part of HIS family! 

Secondly, do the best you can to be the kind of father that pleases God with your own children today.  If you don’t get to be with them, pray for them.  If they are kept from you, practice the forgiveness God seeks from us.  If they forget you (and your ex doesn’t remind them it is Father’s Day), don’t YOU forget THEM!  Let them know you are proud to be their Father.  And, if somehow your children have been poisoned against you (justly or unjustly), place them at the altar of God, trusting that He will be for them the Father you cannot right now. 

And, if you are a person whose family is intact and Father’s Day is great, then take time to look around to notice those for whom it might be difficult.  Perhaps you can help lift that dad’s spirit, or encourage those children whose dad is not around.  Hopefully your pastor is wise enough to realize that not everybody is celebrating this day with joy….for some it includes not only the joys of fatherhood, but the bittersweet memories of the breaking of family bonds through divorce. 

God is good, and as our Heavenly Father, sets the example of what we fathers seek to be.  Sometimes, though, it is hard to live up to that example.  However, regardless of the external circumstances that impact your Father’s Day, your own commitment to follow the example God sets, and to do your best to be the kind of dad he desires can make this day well worth celebrating!  After all, nobody has a better dad than those of us who cry out, “Abba!  Father!” to our Creator, right?   With God as our Father, there is always a lot to celebrate if we really stop and think about it.

Whatever your situation, have a Happy Father’s Day today!

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