Father’s Day is the recognized time that we set aside to honor our dads. For many of us, it’s filled with hours of celebration—often accommodated with the smell of burgers and the ambient noise of a television. But for others, it’s a day that comes with mixed emotions.
Many in our church family are quite acquainted with the ups and downs that this day brings. Some people were raised without a father or by a father who wasn’t their own. Others have had a father recently pass away, so this Sunday will be their first without them. It may be hard for the dads who have strained relationships with their children and for some of the men who haven’t had children at all. And with COVID-19 restrictions in place, traveling for the celebrations may not be possible this year.
So, if you’re not okay on Father’s Day, that is okay. Just trust and know that you’re not alone in your struggle. There’s always a lesson to be found in the most trying of situations, so here are a few thoughts that may help you during this time.
“I can keep hope alive.”
For me personally, I grew up with an “every-other-weekend” father. My parents were divorced and that took a toll on our relationship. Although moments made it seem as if reconciliation was impossible, I never gave up hope. As my relationship with the Lord grew stronger, I found the grace to truly forgive and now have an unfailing love for my dad. And, that’s all because I have a greater understanding of the love that my Heavenly Father has for both of us.
This Father’s Day will be the first one since he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). And, it’s pretty scary to wonder how many more I’ll have with him. While this Sunday will be a hard one for my family, I will continue to put my hope in the God who turns all things for good. And, I will choose to enjoy each moment that I have as I think on the words of Psalm 42:11:
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.”
“I can trust my Heavenly Father.”
As soon as you recognize that you have a Father in Heaven, who has paved the way for you to live in freedom and calls you His own, that makes all the difference. The passage of Scripture that changed my entire perspective on Father’s Day was Romans 8:15-18:
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
No matter what suffering you have endured or are currently going through, you can trust that God is right there in the middle of the pain and has been there every single moment. If you believe in the Son whom He sent to earth for your benefit, you will have His presence forever. He will never leave you nor forsake you, and He has a future for you that will be filled with His glory.
“I can find ways to love.”
You have the opportunity to show gratitude and honor the men in your life. You can display the love of God by offering to serve them, sending a gift, or giving them a phone call. You can bridge gaps and redeem hurts. You can choose forgiveness and let go of the past. Our God is in the business of reconciliation, and He has given that ministry to us. Simply let the men in your life know that you are glad to have them in your life.
You can also show love to others that are missing their dads right now. Ask them how you can be there for them. Send them a card or a text message, and let them know you are praying for and thinking of them.
Something we all can do is take a deep breath. Right now, receive the love that first comes from our Abba Father. Then, freely share that love with others. And, soon enough, you’ll realize that not being okay may be the best thing that could have ever happened—for on the other side of “not okay” is His glory.