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Religious Reflections

Happy Father's Day

BY PAUL GUAY

Father's Day of 1971 was the birthday of our last child, so Father's Day is always a special day in the Guay household!

Have you noticed lately the beating that fatherhood has taken as Hollywood portrays Dads as either totally self-centered, or as brutes who abuse their families, or as buffoons who stand better as models of Casper Milquetoast? Such caricatures cloud our perception of what God intends for fatherhood.

My heart goes out to atheists who believe that God exists only in our imaginations, that we named Him "Father" to fill some void in our comfort or security zones. They assume we have created "god" in our own image and they rightly believe that such a cheat-god can deliver no more comfort than a pacifier can deliver milk.

What is tragic about dispensing with our Father-God so summarily is not just the forfeiture of great blessing and nourishment for our souls, but the abandonment of the only rescue from eternal destruction available to mankind (Acts 4:12).

The truth is that God made us in His image, not vice versa. Part of that image was creating us in families where we could be nurtured in our years of frailty and learn the love of a father. God established families so He could then point to Dads and declare, "I am a Father to you." So Dads were given to us to demonstrate God's love to us.

Such truth is at the same time beautiful and convicting. On the one hand, it is beautiful that God is committed to us as the perfect Father and has provided all we will need for eternal fellowship with Himself.

On the other hand, it is convicting because we have failed as Dads to mirror His Father's-heart to our children. Publicly this Father's Day, I admonish my own dear children (ages 45, 44, 37, & 35) to look beyond my frail example of fatherhood, to behold the Father who will never leave them or forsake them; the perfect Father in heaven. I bow in the presence of His perfect Fatherhood and pray for His mercy. My only plea is that He graciously blanket my failure with the righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The truth is that this is the only plea for any of us. "Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me."

If you will come to this eternal Father through His own dear Son, you will discover a Father's Day like you never knew existed. He will instill and empower a successful fatherhood for your children until that day when we're with Him in heaven. I hope you will.

Happy 35th birthday to my son, James, born 35 Father's Days ago, and Happy Father's Day to you all.

Rev. Paul Guay is pastor of the Mabton Grace Brethren Church.

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