Father’s Day isn’t a holiday that I get to celebrate with quite the same gushy giddiness as my friends.
My father and I have been estranged for…gosh, it’s been 16.5 years now. The reason isn’t important at the moment. Over the years, there have been halting efforts at reconciliation; the last couple years have been mostly good. We had a nice conversation last night that highlighted how good God has been to both of us in the last year.
And that’s the thing – God’s gone right on being good to him.
You see, Level One of Father’s Day blog posts is to talk about how great your dad is. Level Two is to talk about how to handle things if your father perhaps made some mistakes, to extend sympathy, to make sure the fatherless are not left out of the blog audience, and to glorify God as an unfailing father. It’s important to let the fatherless know that their pain and lack is seen and cared for by God.
But Level Three – to which God has leveled me up in the last few years, somewhat against my will – is recognizing that God’s grace extends to your father.
That can be a gigantic stomp on our pride. When we feel our fathers have not done right by us, we retreat to a place of safety in which God is on our side. There is good in that, at first. God does take umbrage over this stuff.
But eventually, God turns his eyes on us. He starts asking whether we have forgiven. And we must ask ourselves, what right do I have to hold against my father a sin that God has forgiven?
That was a difficult moment for me. I preferred my safety and injured pride. There was a moment when I thought I’d never speak to him again.
But I saw God working in my father’s life. He was continuing to bless him (though his life was not perfect). He was gaining wisdom. He was fiercely committed to God’s Word. He was even using his experiences to counsel others. He’s still a good man, in many ways. It was humbling – and awe-inspiring – to see that God was not done with my father. I couldn’t ignore it. I had to respect His work. God was being generous, and I had two options – get with the program and learn about God, or walk in ignorance and be the lesser servant.
It’s hard to know what our future relationship will look like. Obviously, it will never be quite the same. But things are looking better.
Most importantly, my perceived horizons of God’s grace have widened, stretching across the Montana sky. He is truly amazing.