A Kind Dad

By Ruth Johnson

I lost many years going from one destructive relationship to another. It was always my futile attempt to find the love I never received from my father. I was always searching for someone to meet my needs in that broken place inside of me. But, none of my efforts ever worked. Inevitably, they ended in heartbreaking loss and causing even more pain. Only when I let God become my Dad did I have a chance to learn how to make this suffering stop. Amazingly, I became so whole that it was as if none of the agony of my past ever happened. His love restored me. His kindness washed away the devastating pain from my troubled relationship with my earthly father. For the first time in my life, I had the courage to put behind me the grief I always felt in my disturbing relationship with him. The sadness and emptiness that had tormented me any time I thought about my father stopped dominating my thoughts and controlling my life. As a result, there came a day when all the ways my heart had been broken didn’t matter anymore, because now I had the most wonderful Dad in the whole world. And, He gently, compassionately showed me the path to wholeness and His comforting peace.

Yet, to be honest, none of this was easy to do.

It meant I had to make a lot of constant, hard choices. But, my transformation did happen. The crippling pain of my past did end. I’m free. I’m living my dream to serve God. Every day, the Father’s reassuring closeness has given me the courage to keep on making healthy choices. That’s why I am so thankful that I can tell myself during the hard times, “I never have to face anything again without a caring Dad to help me.”

Through all of these amazing changes, I have learned that a close relationship with the Father is the only way any of us can be fully restored. He is the one who can set us free from the places deep on the inside of us where bitterness, regrets, and remembering the pain of our past can destroy us. He is the only one who can take us by the hand and show us the path to His freedom.

What is also incredibly reassuring is, beginning in 1973, God has been an incredibly kind Father to me. All these years, He has never condemned or rejected me, no matter how much I “blew it.” He is never been too busy to be there for me, whenever I needed a Dad’s encouragement and support.

For those who have never experienced what I’ve just described, it is one of the reasons life can feel scary and confusing for you. Not having a father who loved you when you were young can cause all that damage. This is why God gives us an earthly dad. He was meant to be a steadying source of wisdom and understanding, while any of us are trying to find our way in life.

We especially need this fatherly help when we begin young adulthood, and there are so many new challenges that can get really confusing, even troubling, to figure out by ourselves.

However, if you were hurt by your father growing up, you may not be interested in having a close relationship with God as your Dad. I certainly didn’t want it, when I began my life as a Christian. Yet, what really helped me is realizing that God compassionately understands these feelings and He only wants us to be fully real and honest with Him about them.

So, if this is what you want to do, I encourage you to ask Him to become your Dad.

Even if you don’t have any feelings about it at all, that’s totally alright. I sure didn’t, when I decided to do this.

But, what you are doing by taking that step is giving God a chance to show you that He really does love you, and in a very personal way as a kind, caring Father.

You are also giving yourself a chance to experience that He truly is the best Dad in the whole world, and He is the most supportive Father you could ever hope for, no matter what you are going through.

He is just like the Dad in this true Story

In 1989, an 8.2 earthquake almost flattened Armenia, killing over 30,000 people in less than four minutes. In the midst of utter devastation and chaos, a father left his wife securely at home and rushed to the school where his son was supposed to be. That’s when he discovered that the building was as flat as a pancake. After the traumatic initial shock, he remembered the promise he had made to his son: “No matter what, I’ll always be there for you!”

Tears began to fill his eyes. As he looked at the pile of debris that once was the school, it looked hopeless, but he kept remembering his commitment to his son. He began to concentrate on where he walked his son to class at school each morning.
Remembering that his son’s classroom would be in the back right corner of the building, he rushed there and started digging through the rubble.

As he was digging, other forlorn parents arrived, clutching their hearts, saying, “My son!” “My daughter!”

Other well-meaning parents tried to pull him off what was left of the school saying:

“It’s too late!”

“They’re dead!”

“You can’t help!”

“Go home!”

“Come on, face reality, there’s nothing you can do!”

“You’re just going to make things worse!”

To each parent he responded with one line: “Are you going to help me now?”

Then he proceeded to dig for his son, stone by stone.

Soon the fire chief showed up and tried to pull him off the school’s debris. He told this father, “Fires are breaking out, explosions are everywhere. You are in danger. We’ll take care of it. Go home.”

To which this loving, caring Armenian father asked, “Are you going to help me now?”
The police came and said, “You’re angry, distraught and it’s over. You are endangering others. Go home. We’ll handle it!”

To which he replied,

“Are you going to help me now?”

No one helped.

Courageously he proceeded alone. He needed to know for himself: “Is my boy alive or is he dead?”

He kept digging.

In the thirty-eighth hour, he pulled back a boulder and heard his son’s voice.

He screamed his son’s name, “Armand!”

He heard back, “Dad!”

“It’s me, Dad!” the boy cried out.

“I told the other kids not to worry. If you were alive, you would save me. And when you saved me, they would be saved. You promised me that no matter what, you would always be there for me! And you did it, Dad!”

“What’s going on in there? How is it?” the father asked.

“There are fourteen of us left out of thirty-three, Dad. We are scared, hungry, thirsty and thankful you are here. When the building collapsed, it made a wedge, like a triangle, and that saved us.”
“Come on out, boy!”

“No, Dad! Let the other kids out first, because I know you will get me! No matter what, I know you’ll be there for me!”

Taken from “Chicken Soup for the Soul”
1999 Father’s Day Message

God longs to be that kind of Dad to each His children.

Yet, if letting Him have this kind of relationship with you is a struggle, this was my “not so great” attitude when I was saved:

“Jesus is my Savior. I love Him.
But, I want nothing to do with God as my Father.
That I have no interest in at all.”

Those were tragic years in my life when “father” was one of the ugliest words in the English language. I also had no clue that my feeling this way deeply saddened Jesus, because the Father meant everything to Him. When I saw this, I was so sorry, that I decided to let God have a chance. That is the moment when I experienced a comfort I had never known before. His kindness began to melt the walls around my heart.

It was the beginning of God becoming the first real Father I had ever known.
Then, He told me:

“You have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again. You have received a spirit of adoption, by which you may cry out to Me, ‘Abba Father.’” Romans 8:15 NASB

I was amazed to discover that in the Greek, “Abba Father” is as personal and intimate a name, as if we were saying to Him, “Papa God” or “dear Daddy.”

This very personal relationship with the Father is what you and I need because He does have a “plan for us, for good and not destruction, to give us a future and a hope.”

Yet, we are seriously limited in being able to enter into all that He has for us, if we feel sad and empty inside because we don’t have Him as our Dad to help us.

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