Thursday, June 02, 2016

How God helps me when I miss my dad

Today I woke up and started praying for my dad. Even though its been 18 months, it took a few seconds for it to dawn on me that he's no longer alive. There's no point in praying for him anymore. I'll never see him again unless we catch glimpses of each other on the day Christ returns. Not seeing him again is a great loss, and I've learned that its healthy to acknowledge and mourn losses. Mourning for me involves telling God how I feel.

So, I went and prayed to God about it, I talked to my heavenly father about the loss of my earthly father. I talked to him about the fatherly attributes of my dad that I missed. And as I did, God gave me the grace to see something very significant:
The things I miss about my dad, are things Father God can give me, because He is the source of all good fatherly things.
The concept of a father comes from God himself (Eph 3:14-15). God is the ultimate father, and earthly fathers are like mini-models of God the father. When I was a kid I had a bunch of plastic Airfix models of tanks and planes. They weren't the real thing, but they resembled the real thing in certain ways. They had the same dimensions of the real tanks and planes, and the same colours. But there were also ways that they didn't resemble the real thing; they were plastic instead of metal, and they couldn't drive or fly without me propelling them. Same way, my earthly father resembled God the Father in some ways, and in other ways he simply didn't. I don't miss the ways he didn't resemble God, but I do miss the ways he did. So how does this knowledge help me?
The things I miss about my dad, are things Father God can give me, because He is the source of all good fatherly things.
I miss the father/son connection I had with my dad. This connection was real, and something to be missed, but it was also a small model of the father/son connection God gives his children. So, I can turn to Father God saying, "I miss that connection, can I please experience that connection with you?" I also miss when my dad would give me a smile. Those smiles were a small model of a greater reality that Father God smiles at me. I also miss knowing there was someone bigger and stronger than me who was involved in my life. This too was a small model of how God is bigger and stronger than me, and involved in my life in a way that he fights for me, and takes care of me.

So, whilst I miss the fatherly things I experienced from my dad, I can also go to Father God and ask him for these things: connection, smiles, care etc.

'Father God, let me experience a father/son connection with you, let me know your smile upon me, and help me to rest in the knowledge of your care, Amen.' (Rom 8:15; Num 6:24-26; Ps 17:7-8)