dad and DAD by Francis Chan
dad and DAD – an excerpt from Chapter 4, Crazy Love by Francis Chan
The concept of being wanted by a father was foreign to me. Growing up, I felt unwanted y my dad. My mother died giving birth to me, so maybe he saw me as the cause of her death; I’m not sure.
I never carried on a meaningful conversation with my dad. In fact, the only affection I remember came when I was nine years old: He put his arm around me for about thirty seconds while we were on our way to my stepmother’s funeral. Besides that, the only other physical touch I experienced were the beatings I received when I disobeyed or bothered him.
My goal in our relationship was not to annoy my father. I would walk around the house trying not to upset him.
He died when I was twelve. I cried but also felt relief.
The impact of this relationship affected me for years, and I think a lot of those emotions transferred to my relationship with God. For example, I tried hard not to annoy God with my sin or upset Him with my little problems. I had no aspiration of being wanted by God; I was just happy not being hated or hurt by Him.
Don’t get me wrong. Not everything about my dad was bad. I really do thank God for him, because he taught me discipline, respect, fear, and obedience. I also think he loved me. But I can’t sugarcoat how my relationship with him negatively affected my view of God for many years.
Thankfully, my relationship with God took a major turn when I became a father myself. After my oldest daughter was born, I began to see how wrong I was in my thinking about God. For the first time I got a taste of what I believe God feels toward us. I thought about my daughter often. I prayed for her while she slept at night. I showed her picture to anyone who would look. I wanted to give her the world.
Sometimes, when I come home from work, my little girl greets me by running out tot he driveway and jumping into my arms before I can even get out of the car. As you can imagine, arriving home has become one of my favorite moments of the day.
Through this experience, I came to understand that my desire for my children is only a faint echo of God’s great love for me and for every person He made. I am just an earthly, sinful father, and I love my kids so much it hurts. How could I not trust a heavenly, perfect Father who loves me infinitely more than I will ever love my kids?
…Fear is no longer the word I use to describe how I feel about God. Now I use words like reverent intimacy. I still fear God, and I pray that I always will. The Bible emphasizes the importance of fearing God… our culture severely lacks the fear of God, and many of us are plagued with amnesia. But for a long time, I narrowly focused on His fearsomeness to the exclusion of His great and abounding love.
Regardless of the examples that are set above us by blood, season, or circumstance, be encouraged by the fact that God is above all of our perceptions. Our viewpoint does not dictate who God is. God is more than what we can imagine, hope, or wish for. God is our Father, provider, care taker, redeemer, Savior, and friend. We are His children and we ought to never forget that we have been adopted into the royal family and we can call God, “Abba! Father!” Our beloved DAD to lead all dads to his perfectness.
Reader, God bless you! You can buy Crazy Love most anywhere a book is sold.