Whatever happened to Father’s Day?

Published 9:01 am Thursday, June 15, 2017

“A father of the fatherless … is God in His holy habitation” (Psalm 68:5).

never met my biological father. I don’t know him at all. When I was 18 and enlisted in the U.S. Army, my mother sat me down and told me that the man I called father was not my “real” father. By that she meant physical or biological. I thanked her for that information and assured her (maybe a bit too sternly) that while helpful, it did not change a thing. It didn’t matter to me.

I knew my Heavenly Father from an early age. I have an understanding of love and respect given to me from the father figure in my life. Sadly, people often struggle in their relationship with God if they didn’t know their father, had an absentee dad or one who was abusive or less than ideal. And because of this, they might also struggle with Father’s Day.

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But regardless of upbringing, Jesus made a statement to Mary after His resurrection that should encourage all of us: “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father and to My God and your God’” (John 20:17).

From that day forward, no child has ever been an orphan. Jesus bridged the gap and gave all of us an open relationship with our Father God. And in a great demonstration of love, even before we came to this understanding, our Heavenly Father put people in our lives to reflect Him and His love for us. Maybe it was a teacher or a coach. Perhaps God showed Himself to you through a pastor or Sunday school leader.

And yet, there may be some reading this who are still thinking, ‘I didn’t have that in my life.’ I understand. The devil has been a great counterfeiter for centuries. He has had an obsession with perverting everything good that God is — including the image of father.

I believe that’s why in our popular culture we have no better image of a father than Homer Simpson. Any depiction in our modern media shows a dad as one who is an idiot, a bigot or worse.

Gone are the days of “Father Knows Best,” “My Three Sons” or Ben Cartwright and Charles Ingalls. And the enemy of God smiles at this fact. The attack on the family has targeted “Red and yellow, black or white…” Because the enemy knows that everyone is precious in God’s sight.

After I got out of the U.S. Army, I was watching a ball game with my dad. I told him I admired him for the way he fathered me. He simply said, “I did what a man would do.”

I’m not sure about that today. I could only do that with the help of Jesus. I’m glad I had someone who reflected God to me in the way he fathered.

Rev. John Moxley is pastor of First Baptist Church in Dillwyn. His email address is jmoxleydillwyn@gmail.com.