As Father’s Day approaches, it is time to honor the dads among us. The role of a father is a weighty one. They teach us about who we are, how the world is, and who God is.
Fathers give us identity. Throughout history, people have been identified by who their father was. Many of our modern surnames (e.g., Johnson, Robertson, etc.) have their origins in the relationship between father and son. Today, regardless of our last name, if we have a father, chances are it is (or was) the same as his. Some still have an idea of what it means to carry and live up to the family name, and most of us want to do our families proud. Beyond the name we are called by, great fathers see the greatness in us and call it out of us. They believe in us and remind us of who we are and what we are capable of.
Fathers also teach us about life. For many, that includes skills like how to fish or ride a bike or throw a ball. But it goes beyond physical skills and sharing recreational past times. It includes wisdom and principles for living. Ways of thinking about work, money, and how to treat people. My own father would probably be shocked to know how often his words come out of my mouth in session, as I share with clients the lessons he’s taught me—of equal value as the knowledge I acquired in getting a PhD. Beyond that, good fathers also teach us not just how to live, but who to be—they shape our character. They teach us the difference between right and wrong and the value of honesty, integrity, perseverance, and sacrifice. When necessary, they use words. But these lessons are learned most powerfully by watching a man live them out day by day, year after year, often without saying a thing.
For better or worse, most of us also get our God image from our parents and especially our dads. If we are lucky, we enjoy the security and stability of someone who loves us enough to protect us and provide for us, while fostering our independence to be able to discover who we are as individuals and make our own good decisions someday.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have a father who’s done a pretty stellar job of the above, and it is a joy to celebrate him and who I have become because of him. This Father’s Day, some will share similar joy of honoring a great dad. Some will be celebrated for being a great dad. But for some, Father’s Day is bittersweet, either because a great dad is no longer with you or because you never had a great dad in the first place.
Whether or not you have an earthly father to celebrate this weekend, you have a Heavenly Father who loves you and receives you with open arms. His love is powerful enough to heal the hurts and help you become all you were made to be. He will teach you who you are as His child. He will teach you about the world through His eyes. He will reveal Himself and His love for you more and more as you ask Him to show you. He will protect and provide for you and give you peace—even in the storm.
Enjoy this short video in which John Paul Jackson speaks a father’s blessing over you.