Every night, he’d quietly creep into my bedroom. As a restless child when I was awake, I was also one when I slept. So before he went to sleep, my father noiselessly checked in on me, once more pulling the covers I kicked off over me and kissing me tenderly on my cheek. It wasn’t a big thing and quite honestly, I probably wouldn’t have even known this was his habit except my mother told me. This small gesture, though, was just like my dad. He listened when I was angry, kissed my boo-boos when I hurt myself, taught me his love of reading, shared his excitement of travel, complimented me when I needed encouragement – in general, he had mastered the art of making everything better.
Today, Father’s Day 2016, would have been my Dad’s 93th birthday. Unfortunately, he passed away suddenly 44 years ago, when I was just a teenager. Sometimes my grief is so fresh, it feels like he died yesterday and not over 40 years ago. I miss his ability to see the best in me in any situation. I miss the hope he shared about my future. Mostly I miss his talent for always having the right words to heal my broken heart. I remember his encouraging words when self-doubt creeps in the midst of my tragedies, questionning and personal failures. His character, love and compassion are imprinted into my DNA.
Perhaps, like me, you have no one to call on Father’s Day. Going through life without a father is a bit like sailing at night without a lighthouse. Adrift on the black waters, navigating the unknown dangers of the dark with no one to call, no one to ask for advice, no one to lean into for guidance and fatherly advice.
Yet God…He never wanted us to drift through life like a boat without a rudder. The Psalmist wrote that God is a Father to the Fatherless. In Psalm 68:5, the writer declares God to be, “A Father to the Fatherless, a defender to widows, is God in His holy dwelling.”
I used to wonder what these words meant, A Father to the Fatherless. There were many times when I didn’t want an unseen, vague figure as a father, but a living, breathing man who could wrap his arms around me, stroke my hair and gently whisper in my ear that everything would be okay. I thought that human touch would conquer everything.
But now, when I look back on my life, I see the places along my journey when God was there. Where He intervened to save me from danger and where He had my back. Protecting, guiding, loving just as my daddy would have done. God was always there, before and even after my dad passed away.
When I wanted to call my father to ask his advice, I learned the most natural next best thing to do was pray. I started seeking my heavenly Father whenever I wanted a piece of paternal advice. This turned out to be the very best thing of all.
When I sought God, I found Him. When I asked Him the tender questions a daughter asks her daddy, God answered. His voice was clear. His peace was real.
A Father to the Fatherless, indeed – one who was always guarding, guiding, giving. I know this now to be true.
The shifting shadows of life disappear in the radiant light of His love. Like a lighthouse on a hill, God beckons the fatherless homeward and into the safe harbor of His care. He is the heavenly Father who loves unconditionally, provides unreservedly and protects unceasingly.
If you are like me, fatherless on Father’s Day with no one to call, celebrate that God is calling you.