Sometimes words fail me for all these Hallmark holidays. The Father’s Day cards were simple when I was smaller and then in my twenties, I was able to write and recount some of my fondest memories. But, as the years keep passing, I wonder, ‘Is this really all I have to say? Is this the best thanks I can give?’
No man born of woman has ever fathered perfectly or anywhere near perfect. But perfection wasn’t God’s design after the fall, right? Ever since we left the garden, we live the shadows, the reflections, the images of the real thing. Nevertheless, these commercial holidays can press the issue: the neckties, the sentimental advertisements, and the greeting cards can make us think we our dads really should have been perfect after all. And then the thanks can feel forced, contrived, pretending he was something that he wasn’t.
True, there’s no Father’s Day in Scripture. But, it is a part of our culture and we are commanded to honor our parents, always, even if we grow into parents ourselves. And so, what gives? How can we say thank you and not pretend we’ve forgotten the imperfections? How can we honor and still be honest?
We honor our fathers by glorifying the Great Father.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
This year, we can say thank you for the little and big things, not pretending that dad was perfect, but by acknowledging that every little glimpse of good, every taste of sweetness came from a good and perfect God.
Here are a few ways you can thank your Dad for opening a little window through which you could better see your heavenly Father.
Thank him for his compassion, the times he took pity on you, the moments he cradled you in his arms.
13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:13-14
Thank him for the times he disciplined you, set you straight, said ‘no’ when you wanted him to say, ‘yes.’
11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. Proverbs 3:11-12
Thank him for the times he listened to you, even when he already knew what you needed.
6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matthew 6:6-8
Thank him for providing for you, in big and little ways.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:9-11
But when you say, ‘Thanks,’ don’t regret that he didn’t provide or listen or love more perfectly. But, let your thanks go deeper-for the imperfections point us to the better Father. These small shadows of care and provision aren’t meant to leave us in disappointment, but to point us, us and our fathers, to the Father that gives and loves and listens from heaven.
Don’t hold back this year. Say ‘Thank you’ without hesitation. And don’t stop thanking until your gratitude reaches the Father of heavenly lights, for He is the Father we all need; the one that needs no Hallmark holiday to be celebrated.
What are some of the ways your dad has loved that reminds you of God’s fatherly care? Any other Scriptures come to mind?