The world has been trying long and hard to make us believe that fathers don’t matter. Not fathers on earth, and certainly not our Father in Heaven.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
Take these statistics: 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes. 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. 85% of all youths in prison, and 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes. 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father.
In case you’re getting number numb, here’s the bottom line: fathers have a huge impact on every level of a child’s development—whether emotional, social, physical, financial, or spiritual.
My earthly father has played a huge role in my life. 20 years ago I was a very socially awkward little girl with glasses, that loved to read more than she loved people, who hated to exercise, and was nervous in front of a crowd. Now although I may still be a little socially awkward, it was because of my father’s belief in me that 20 years later I’ve graduated from law school in New York City, served a mission in Croatia, run marathons, and, with a great husband, am now raising 3 kids.
How did he do this? Frankly I don’t have it all figured out yet. But the older I get the more I realize the ways in which he was a good father mirrored my Heavenly Father, and helped me draw close to both of them.
He gave me a vision of who I was. Good fathers, and our Heavenly Father, don’t let us settle with what we see as our limitations. My Dad helped me see my potential, which was better than anything I imagined for myself. Likewise God knows our potential, and will give us a vision of who we can become with His help.
He loved me unconditionally. Even in 6th grade when I lied about going to a party with boys (he of course knew where I was), and even that time in high school when I blew curfew and came home at 4 am, he still showed me he loved me. But it was because of this love that he also taught me correct behavior, and didn’t shy away from telling me what would and wouldn’t ultimately lead to my happiness.
He taught me that mistakes were ok. My dad has a fierce sense of integrity and work ethic, but he was also ok with us seeing that he wasn’t perfect. When he did mess up he knew how to apologize, and used it to teach us that repentance was real and that God could forgive, a lesson I’ve used many times.
He taught me where my true worth lies. This is something I still struggle with at times. The world’s voice is so loud, telling me that my worth lies in achievements, appearance, and social status, and I have to remember daily that none of that matters. Luckily the closer I am to both of them the easier it is to remember that my worth lies in the service I give and the way I love–something they’ve both emulated for me time and time again.
Despite what the world may say, Father’s do matter. Happy Father’s Day to all of you fathers out there who work so hard to bless lives. You matter to us, and to the world!
How blessed we are as believers to know that we will always have a Heavenly Father who loves us, who listens when we pray, and who answers every prayer.
That’s something worth celebrating.