Does Father's Day Discourage You?

Norman Fried writes about the value of fatherhood. He acknowledges that the feelings surrounding Father's Day are varied.

For some, it leaves us anxious, as we recall the man who couldn’t be there when we needed him, or the man who is not here now when we need him the most. For others, it stimulates feelings of gratitude as we honor the times we had with our father by our side. There are some among us who never knew our father; others who have not yet separated and, thus, never had to learn to say goodbye. Regardless of our own individual story, we are, all of us, reminded at this time every year just how important fatherhood is; how lives are shaped, and paths are forged, through the direction and guidance of a man older and wiser.

What if you are in the category of those made anxious by their fathers, or afraid? What if Father's Day and the whole idea of fatherhood leave you feeling hollow and you just wish you could forget you even had a dad?

To you, John Piper offered this encouragement in a Father's Day sermon two decades ago:

I want to make clear from the outset that the sadness many may feel at never having had a father like the father I will describe, and the sadness others may feel at never having been a father like the father I will describe—that sadness can be swallowed up and overcome with joy...because God offers his fatherhood to anyone who will accept the gift of adoption by trusting Christ and yielding to be led by the Holy Spirit.

And he gave this exhortation to dads:

[Children] ought to see in their human father a reflection—albeit imperfect—of the heavenly Father in his strength and tenderness, in his wrath and mercy, in his exaltation and condescension, in his surpassing wisdom and patient guidance. The task of every human father is to be for his children an image of the Father in heaven.

Some dads show their kids what it's like to have God as their father; others don't. But regardless of the successes and failures of our dads, God's fatherhood is an extraordinary gift to us. As we honor our earthly fathers tomorrow, let's celebrate even more that we are in God's family and children of a perfect father.