OK, before I get too serious, I need to make a plea to those who know me and are reading this: Please don’t tell my mom that a photo of her is on my blog (she hates being photographed). As I say that I realize she doesn’t have the foggiest idea what a ‘blog’ is anyways. Secondly, please don’t clog up the ‘Comments‘ section with clever remarks about the suit my parents put me in (And, yes, that is a clip on tie).
Today is ‘Father’s Day’ and I have spent the better part of the day being pampered by my lovely wife and adorable daughter. I love being a father.
Father’s Day also prompts me to think about my earthly father, George Stuart MacPhail, who died in the summer of 1984. Some might say that I have been ‘fatherless’ for 25 years now.
In a sense, this is correct. My father, who loved to watch me play baseball and hockey, is gone. My father, who loved to sing in the choir at Drummond Hill Presbyterian Church, is but a memory for those who knew him.
I hugely miss my earthly father. I miss his affirmation. I miss playing ‘catch’ in the yard with him. I miss his advice. I miss the sound of his voice. I wish he was here.
I regret that he never saw me graduate, and that he never met my wife and daughter.
A couple of years ago I got to preach at Drummond Hill PC—the church of my youth. A few of the people there remembered my dad, and their words, ‘Your dad would be proud’, meant the world to me.
I’m guessing that my response to being without an earthly father has been normal. Those things I lost when my father died, I looked for in other men—in coaches, in teachers, in older colleagues, and once I got married, in my father-in-law. The influence of those men has been a huge encouragement and consolation to me over the years. You could say that they helped to fill the void that was created when my dad died in 1984.
Why, though, do I contest the notion that I am fatherless? Am I deluding myself? I don’t think so.
On this ‘Father’s Day’ there is a passage in the Bible that surpasses the rest for me. The apostle Paul, writing to followers of Jesus, gives this massive encouragement:
“…those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God……you received a Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:14-16, emphasis mine).
A cynic might suggest that the reason a became a follower of Jesus was to help me cope with my earthly loss. I concede that the timing of my becoming a Christian could give that impression (I confessed Jesus as my Lord in the summer of 1985 at Muskoka Woods). Twenty-five years later, however, my faith in God means more to me than it ever has. And, while I miss my earthly father immensely, I don’t feel fatherless.
The apostle Paul affirms my perception. According to the Scriptures, I am not fatherless. I have a Father in Heaven who loves me beyond measure. This makes me grateful, not just today, but every day.