Earthly fathers, for good and for bad, shape one’s view of our heavenly father. As 2022 winds down, the two-year mark of my dad’s passing approaches. I learned some good things from my dad. I learned to put my mind to something, learn about it, and then go do it. My dad could pretty much fix anything. No need to pay a professional to come and fix it. I can’t remember ever seeing my dad pay for someone else to fix something. My dad fixed whatever needed fixing. And he did that without YouTube or the internet:


Adding two rooms onto a house. Sure, he could draw up the plans, file those with the city, buy the materials and build it himself.

Dad showed me how to be steady, consistent, reliable, and even keel. He also liked to learn which was probably why it was so hard to beat him at Trivial Pursuit.

Even with all the good, my family wished for more from my dad. I knew he loved me, but he had trouble saying it. My siblings and I hoped for some attention, some affection, some sharing of what was on his mind. We hoped for some validation, some encouragement, some conversation, some kind of reaching out for a relationship. Over my adult life, dad only called me once, when my mom was visiting us after my first son was born when we lived in Colorado. When I answered the phone I was happy to hear my dad’s voice, but instead of conversation, all he asked was, “Is your mom there?” When dad passed away, the hope of any connection or reaching out happening in this earthly life also passed away.

The realities of my relationship with dad taint my perception of my heavenly father, and your realities with yours do too, for good and for bad. It takes training, belief, and trust in Scripture to accept all God is as our heavenly father. One new insight for me is seeing Jesus as an eternal father. This might strike you as odd, but in Isaiah 9:6, the prophet proclaims “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given… …and his name shall be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” Isaiah 9:6. Jesus truly is God in the flesh. The roles of the persons of the Trinity are expressed in the names of Jesus on earth; counselor, father, and prince.

Then, in Luke 8:48, in conversation with a woman he had just healed, Jesus “said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” Jesus calls her “daughter.” This implies fatherly care for and connection with that woman. That connection is available for all his followers too. A relational connection believers get to experience; an eternity of connecting with their healer, savior, counselor, father, prince, and mighty God!

John Riley
Jr. High Pastor

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