Happy Father’s Day, to my incredible Poppy.
Thank you for teaching me the love of the King.
– – – – – – – – – –
Sometimes, at a park or a playground, I like to look around and watch the little ones strive desperately for the attention of their fathers.
There’s slides and swings and monkey bars. There’s tears and Band-aids and training wheels.
And in all that glorious chaos there’s “look dad” and “watch this,” a little child in every corner of that park longing to be delighted in by their father.
It’s a beautiful picture, isn’t it?
Of faith and love and life. Of happy marriages and healthy children and answered prayers on a Sunday morning. Of a dad who looks when you ask him to watch.
We know it isn’t always true. We know there are no dads and bad dads and mean dads. We know there are empty nights and broken promises and lonely graduations. We know that sometimes the playground is empty when we call out “hey dad.”
And I’m not sure how you reconcile the good with the bad. I’m not sure why I got a good one and she got a bad one. I’m not sure it’s fair and I’m not sure it’s right.
And I’m not sure how you tell that hurting heart that that is just the way it is.
He climbed the pulpit in jeans that were years old. His shirt, I’d seen him wear a hundred times. He takes his glasses off and rubs them on his shirt, once, twice. And when he looks up, he begins to speak.
He speaks of a Father who loves freely. He speaks of a Creator who delights in us. He speaks of a Maker who looks at us and says, “well done.”
He begs with us and he pleads with us to look to the King for the love of a father.
I sit and I listen to my father beg ME to look to the King for love. For acceptance. For affirmation.
My father, who loves without abandon. Who believes in my every dream. Who encourages my every hope.
My father, who kissed scabbed knees and loved me through broken hearts.
My father, who always looked when I yelled “hey dad, watch.”
He stands there and talks to two hundred and he talks just to me and all I hear is this.
“I’ll break your heart, but He won’t. I’m not enough, but He is. I can’t love you enough, but He does.”
And if we’re being honest it doesn’t really make any sense. Because if fatherhood is a game, my dad wins the prize.
But maybe my dad has figured something out that isn’t only for me. Maybe my dad is trying to make all of us understand what he too has had to learn. Maybe it’s for you.
His title of father is a privilege and he measures himself only against the standard of the King. He finds himself lacking. He finds all fathers lacking. And that’s okay.
He doesn’t have to be the perfect father, he cannot be the perfect father. And he doesn’t want to be the perfect father, because the King already does it perfectly.
Because if there’s one thing he knows and one thing I’m learning it is that the King fills every void.
It is that the King delights in me.
It is that the King delights in you.
And I think that is it. That is the reconciliation that we all long for.
That is not just the way it is. This is the way it is.
The King is the salve for the empty playground, the broken promises, the hurting heart.
That is the place where we all meet.
There is a King who broke his heart to claim you.
There is a King who calls you daughter, who calls you son.
There is a King who delighted in you first and delights in you now and will delight in you always.