When I doubt and worry and despair, I sometimes need to check myself regarding what I believe about the nature of God. If I feel abandoned, that must mean that God is careless. If I feel shaken, maybe I believe God is not powerful. If I feel lonely, maybe my image of God is not loving. It’s challenging to love and believe in an invisible God. As much evidence as I have had about His faithfulness to me over my lifetime, it can be hard to relate to an entirely spiritual, non-physical entity at times. Thankfully, I can put a face to Him in my own earthly Dad.
My father is steady, strong, and loving. When waves of difficulty and loss hit him, he keeps standing. My Dad revels in the good news of friends and family and he walks with them in their pain, too. He loves nothing more than bringing a smile to a face with a small or large gesture, but he never takes credit for anything for long.
My Dad helps people. He would give you the shirt off his back, would drive you to a doctor’s appointment (and back, too!), has and does care for people in their illness and need. Family means everything to him. He routinely puts the needs of others before himself, and he is a faithful friend.
My Dad makes an impression. Any of my friends who’ve met him once ask about him from that point on. His smile, caring, and uniquely hilarious sense of humor are things that people remember. Waitresses and bartenders love to see him enter a place, and that’s not necessarily just because he’s a great tipper, which he is, but because he is the kind of person who makes people feel good. He’s a gift.
So when I look at my Dad, I hope I can extrapolate some things about my Heavenly Father, too. They’re both generous, steadfast, compassionate, humble, and caring. They both love bringing people joy and they both are empathetic in times of trouble. They will both tell you only the truth. They both tell epic stories that you want to hear over and over again. I hope God is as funny as my Dad. Though that would be a high bar, I have to imagine that my Dad got his sense of humor from somewhere. And the idea that they are both rooting for me, both singing, both holding worlds together with their relentless, strong love…. that’s the reason I can breathe in and out, and walk through my days step by step, checkmark by checkmark. There is no way I could otherwise, and that’s the truth.
I love you, Dad.