by Phil Strong - You may be saddened to hear that I lost my dad late in 2021. For two years Dad fought against the cancer that wanted to ravage his body, but in the end, he lost strength, function and, ultimately, breath. It was horrible watching the demise of my loving father; the man who raised me, the man I loved and admired, and a friend I will deeply miss.
I get the feeling there are many readers who can relate to the ‘hole’ in their life—the void that comes from an absent father. What makes my recent loss easier to bear is the confidence I have in a God who is an always-present, loving Father. Perhaps you can, too?
A loving father provides us with protection. When we are young, our father keeps us from danger. As we grow older, our father cannot keep us from danger, but is a reassuring presence as we learn how to face the challenges of life. Me, I seem to find challenge! I am so grateful that my natural father and my Heavenly Father have taught me how to make the most of these challenges, although I must admit to having some scars and stories from the journey! Psalm 46 says, “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”
A loving father provides us with resources and support that sustain us. As children, we have a safe place to live and sleep, food on the table and the means to enjoy life. When a father is absent some of these blessings are absent, but not always. A loving father teaches us to provide for ourselves as we grow, how to use wisdom with our resources, and to plan for the future. We need the wisdom of a loving father who has insight we do not yet have. Jesus reminds us, “Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns—and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
Perhaps the most valuable blessing to come from a father is our identity. Traditionally, the father gives his newborn child their name as an ever-present statement of the character and nature of the child. A father develops purpose, meaning and destiny into a child, which opens avenues into success and fulfilment. Sadly, in this age, fathers neglect this function, and we see many lost souls wandering through life without meaning or purpose. God, the eternal heavenly Father, said to Jeremiah and would say to you today, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born, I separated you for myself.” I believe God wants you to hear His words, “Before you were born, I chose you for a special work.”
What makes life easier to bear is the confidence we can all have in the God who is an always-present, loving Father. Our connection to God as a loving Father can only come through Jesus, who came to lead us to God, our eternal Father. Connect with Jesus and He will connect you with your loving heavenly Father.
Phil Strong is the Senior Leader at ZION, a church community in Te Awamutu. He is also a published author who has inspired many with his practical teaching for transformational living. You can access Phil's blog, podcast and books at https://philstrong.com.