When I was in the classroom I would begin each morning with devotions. I would lead my children in song and prayer. We had this very ‘humble’ shoe box. We cut a slit at the top of it, whenever a student needed prayer they would quietly write their request down and then come out the front and place it into the box. No one placed their names on the prayer points so there was no fear. We came boldly into prayer with the Lord, petitioning Him, thanking Him and waiting for answers. Now and then we had a prayer request for some parents that seemed to be struggling or a broken marriage. I must say it was a rare occasion. The majority of prayers were about friendships or sport, sometimes holidays or sick friends.
On this particular morning I had chosen our new memory verse as a class to learn. My 9 year olds were buzzing. I could hear the soft murmurs and little voices of joy ready to set themselves on a new challenge. I began to read King David’s Psalm 27… “The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?” The children didn’t speak. They were enthralled by the words a man wrote thousands of years ago. I continued, and eventually I came to the line “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” I went on and finished this beautiful Psalm filled with such glorious promises from God. By the end, I closed the Bible and looking up to engage with the class again I saw a flood of hands up in the air, waiting to have their say on this passage. I never knew or never could predetermine what those little hands had going on in their hearts. I was going to touch on friendships and loneliness, ah, but the Psalm struck many deeper chords.
The first child I allowed to speak explained “my dad doesn’t live with us anymore.” The next, “ My parents split up.” And another “I hate having to go from house to house to see each parent.” Again “My dad hardly sees us.” These comments seemed to never end. My heart was aching as I listened to each child explain either a situation they were involved in or a friend of theirs. My heart sank… we had to put a hold on our lessons for the day. I remember thinking it’s so unfair. These little ones don’t deserve such uncertainty, such sadness, rejection. I stood there shaking my head clutching my Bible. As I breathed in deeply, taking it all in, in my mind I said “Lord, give me the right words to say to these children, to your children.” And so, as Father’s Day 2018 is drawing to an end I find myself saying the same words to you dear reader. “Father, give me the right words to help your child.” You might be hurting, you might be lonely, Fathers Day might be the worst day of the year for you.
I am here, I’m thinking of you and praying for you. You know what I told my year 4 class? I said “Look! look at what follows after the pain or losing someone or feeling abandoned. Look at what’s written next. There is more, there is a promise – ‘ The Lord will receive me.’” You see the Lord will always be there, He cares. It’s a promise and He does not break His promises, He simply cannot. Psalm 27 is about the essence of God the Father. We do not need anything else but Him alone. He will fulfill all our needs. He is our mother, our father, our provider, our protector, our fortress our strength. Only in Him and Him alone will we find healing friend. Only in Him and the blood of Jesus will our hearts find peace and real joy. An everlasting joy that cannot be taken.
Oh reader. Your pain is real. You are heard, your cries are heard by a loving Heavenly Father who is ready to stand up and hold you up and carry you through. He is willing to sacrifice His beloved son for YOU. You need to only call upon His name, you need only believe in Him and you will have the gift of salvation. This Father’s Day allow God to do wonders in your heart. Allow Him to adopt you into His family, allow this to be the first Fathers Day where you can say “this is it, I will rejoice in this day for the Lord has made it and it is good.” Reader, if you are grieving, allow the Holy Spirit to come along side you and gently minister to your soul, gently love and speak to you.
As we slowly looked back over Psalm 27 my students eyes were opened to see the goodness and kindness of God the Father and how much he wants us to trust in Him to be our ultimate love. Today you can walk away with a Father. You can be adopted into His Kingdom. You see, earthly longings, earthly yearnings and desires will always disappoint you. Nothing here on earth will fulfill us. Even those of us with wonderful fathers. They are just a taste of who God is. They point to our Father in Heaven and show us or show our children the amazement of a Father who never ever lets us down. Who never runs away, who never hurts us but only does what is best for us ALWAYS. Father’s, don’t instill a sense of confidence into children that is simply for self satisfaction. Instill a confidence and hope in Jesus. So that anything your children do is because Christ has done this within them! What lasting joy comes from this.
Reader maybe you are the father who let your children down. Or perhaps you are going through a trialling time for whatever reasons. Maybe you go to bed at night lamenting, agonising over the what if’s or wishing you could change things. Let today be the first step for healing and restoration. BUT allow the work to begin with Jesus. Get down on your knees friend. Beg for forgiveness, stand up, take a deep breath and go forth with Christ behind and in front of you leading (as your Father) every new, fresh and exciting step. In His name. For His glory! Amen.
Happy Fathers DAY to all the dad’s/ father figures out there.
‘If you, then, though you are sinful, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!’ Matthew 7:11