I remember it like it was yesterday…
The day I first paid attention to the fact that the first two words of the prayer we recited in school were somewhat personal…
Never mind the “Who art in heaven” that followed on its heels. None of it made sense.
Ours? Mine? Why would I even want to own another father – especially One who I could not see – when the one I already had seemed to think that pocket money and gifts from an ever-increasing distance would fill the void that he left behind when he walked away.
The way he tells it, it was all Mom’s fault. She had written a letter outlining his sins past and present, as well as the sins he would probably commit in the future, and had told him to leave. I have never seen the much-referenced letter and one would think that such incriminating evidence would be preserved for posterity, but I digress…
For me, the word father had no relational implications beyond biology (and chequebook), unless you counted the legal right to scold upon discovering that the runt of the family got 94 instead of full marks on a Math test. The absolute unparalleled horror!!! The sky is falling!! The sky is falling!! Red Alert!!!
(I am aware that when your age resides in single-digit territory, everything seems amplified beyond reason but, having been properly ‘cussed out’ on multiple occasions since then, I stand by every one of my exclamation marks.)
Needless to say… delightful conversation, sharing of thoughts and dreams, unconditional love and acceptance were not things that I associated with the idea of Father. Ever.
It would be years before I grasped the truth that there is a Father who is also Friend; a Father who can be trusted with my heart and who rejoices over me with singing (Zephaniah 3:17); a Father who is much more than a cold and distant benefactor… who gets down and dirty in the trenches with me and stays close when the missiles roar from enemy ranks. His Shadow is the ultimate safe zone (Psalm 91) and I stand in awe of His Faithfulness to me.
Almighty God. Everlasting Father. Creator. Sustainer. Redeemer. Friend.
To Him be all glory, honour and praise… today and always.
“… Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth… ” (Luke 11:2)
*Image Credit: ‘Praying Hands’ Wikimedia Commons