God’s Not Done with Your Dad

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.

21 thoughts on “God’s Not Done with Your Dad

  1. Amen, Brandon! Well said. There are huge spiritual fruits to be gained from figuring out how to forgive and honor our parents, even the rotten ones. I sometimes say that is a whole new level to the video game, you’re out slaying some major dragons, breaking some curses, collecting some powerful fruit. Helps me to think of it as a video game,anyway. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wonderful post, Brandon. There is a reason that one of the 10 Commandments is for us to “honor our father and mother “. And there is no qualification that limits the honor to the good parents. I thank God that he is teaching you this lesson sooner, rather than later. Blessings to you today .

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Models, Mentors, and Mercy | Notes from Vanaprastha

  4. I’ve walked a similar road with my dad, and I still remember how distinctly different life was for me before I was able (by the grace of God) to forgive him. I grew up with a ton of anger and bitterness with both parents, and walking in the beautiful freedom of forgiveness has been… well, incredible. And humbling, because I see my own propensity to fail my children…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Brandon, thank you for sharing how the Lord is working in both your lives ~ the heavenly Father of two sons whom He, hopefully, will bring to glory through our elder brother. Praise the Lord that we, as His family, are a part of the overall picture of His creation and redemption, preparing us for eternity with Him. Let us be content to know that we are part of His plan. Praying for blessings between your father and you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Brandon,
    From a dad standpoint I am both heart broken and filled with hope. We are different than our parents and yet with out them we are not. As a parent I teach my son to stand on what he believes most strongly in the face of fear. This means there is a possibility of a rift over a disagreement/s. Ask your dad the tough questions today on his beliefs. Be a student of his experience and bents. You may be surprised of what you learn, you may be confirmed in what you think of the whole situation now. Who knows??? The big thing is to overcome fear of addressing the tough situations in life.

    Be prayed up as you engage your father. Nothing can separate you from your Heavenly Father. Your reputation belongs to God. The care of your ego is Gods too. IF you have given all to God you have nothing to suffer loss with. Except fear! Do you have a shield to quench the fiery darts from evil? Do you have armor of God? As I ask these questions I am mindful of your blog I have read. I do not encourage a D Day battle in any way. But do encourage a deliberate planned engagement of the far reaching issues of your dad’s past and your past.

    Do not expect change of your dad. Do expect more change in you as you overcome fear that plagues us all. then most important take all you experience and learn to God to wrestle with God about not your dad or self. God is a Redeemer of the tough stuff of life too. Wish we were face to face to talk this one out. Hope is sometimes just standing and facing not doing something!

    By the way you need to pray any plan up to God…. Do not do what I say with out a long talk with God… His plan is always best … pitch this plan out if it sounds bad to you.. attempt something before your dad’s time is up. It is always harder to deal with one who has passed on. It sounds like you have sound beliefs in God. Do not fear when they are attacked or disrespected. We are more than victors in Christ Jesus.

    Denny

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for liking my last post. Not only for the encouragement it brings me but more importantly because it led me to read your post about your relationship with your Dad. Since mental illness struck me in my late teens I have held bitterness toward my parents. I won’t go into the details but back in the late ’70’s neither of us knew what was going on or how to deal with it (the professionals didn’t know what they were doing either). Your statement that God still loves, is engaged in the life of, and growing, your father broke through some of my assumptions that God was on my side, and against my parents. God has used you to open my heart to some incredibly helpful things to think about, and hopefully lead me toward total forgiveness of them, myself, and more apologies to them for my part in the difficulties.

    Thank you.

    Jim

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome, Jim. To be clear, I’m not excusing any of the legitimate wrongs that were done in either my life or yours. I just read the words of Jesus and am reminded that he died for their sins, too – including the ones committed against us. Have an awesome day.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s