I Am Not Fatherless

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.

9 thoughts on “I Am Not Fatherless

  1. Bryn
    you touch my heart always and this was no different. The security your earthly father gave is still lingering in you as a person, and through that I love learning more about George. The heart your heavenly father gave you is singular in devotion and through that I love learning more about HIM.
    bless you my dear husband

  2. Bryn,
    I have only been able to learn about your dad from you – both by what you relate and by the amazing person that you are. The characteristics that you admired in him are ever-present in yourself. It was our gift when Allison brought you to our family.
    Just by being you, you honour his memory….. love, Judy

  3. ……and you bug me about my Grade 8 graduation suit and pink shirt! At least you admit to the clip on. I am also pleased as your close friend to know what you will look like in the years to come. Great blog as always – thanks for sharing.

  4. Dear Bryn
    I remember when you ministered to my girls, Susie, Juli, Gabriella and Caroline when their earthly father was leaving this world. I understand why you knew exactly what to say. Thank-you for that and for sharing.

  5. Thank you for these kind words–they are much appreciated.

    Margaret–I heard a rumour that you might come with Jim Allan to visit our new service, The Well. It would be great to see you and any of your girls.

    God bless!

  6. Dear Bryn & Allie & Anya,
    As I started to read your blog, I realized that Susan Boyle was singing “How Great thou Art” on the computer. I have had to stop several times to wipe away the tears and blow my nose.
    When the picture of your Mom & Dad and you came up, it was like Aug. 30 1984 again. Your Father was very proud of you, and took you to as many baseball games as possible. His one big dream was to have a big “50th” birthday party. Never in a million years would we have expected him not to be with us then. I know that he would have been in his glory as you became a Presbyterian Minister. He would have loved both Allie & Anya to pieces. It makes me realize how lucky we were to have Dad with us for so long, even though it hurts still and always will.
    I know he would be very upset to see how the family has changed. I know for sure that he would be so proud about you taking the call in Nassau. He was always so proud to say that his Grandson was a Minister.
    Butch & I wish you luck and happiness in your move to your new charge in Nassau.
    I hope that we can keep in touch and that maybe one day we will be able to visit the 3 of you in the Bahamas.
    With love & prayers,
    Butch & Claudia

  7. Bryn,

    Happy Father’s Day. I am up @ Muskoka Woods getting ready as another summer starts. (My 25th summer.) I just read your blog to Lori, it made us happy and yes, sad. It also reminds me of the power of Mr Boddy’s (lori’s Dad) decision to start MW. Today, Mr B has dementia, we have him “in body” but miss his tangible visionary presence. We as a family remember you growing up here and we count you very much a “joy” in our call here. Know we are very proud of you. Infact, I say, “Death Johnny is very proud of you.” (My camp name for those who don’t know- a long story.) Not only are you not Fatherless, but we count you here as “one of our sons.” So, it’s fit to say, “Love you much son, I am very proud of you.” Johnny McA. #15

  8. Hi John,
    Thank you so much for your kind and generous words. Yes, for many years I massively benefited from the mentoring I received from some MWSR staff. In a manner, I still benefit from them. I give thanks to God for you and pray that you have a blessed summer!

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