My wife and I have gone through various seasons in our marriage where we’ve really needed to trust God, particularly with finances. There have been times where we have been so broke, we didn’t have more than $5 to spend at the grocery store—that’s when you eat a lot of PB&J!
I have always been taught that God is a provider. And he has shown me through his Word that everything we need “will be added” to us when we are seeking his Kingdom (Matt. 6:33). But, in hard times like these, it was difficult for me to really believe that God provides. I realized I never really had to believe it up until that point.
But then God taught me that he is a lot like my own dad.
My earthly dad, Randy Dana Seavers, is a wise, faithful, loving, and caring person. He is also a hard worker. He has always done his best to provide for his family. We have never gone without; in fact, we have always received so much extra than we ever needed. I know that he and my mom would not be inclined to spend much on themselves, but they have always gone out of their way financially to give my siblings and I gifts and opportunities that a lot of people don’t get.
I have been blessed.
Unfortunately, I know a lot people who don’t have a dad like mine. The older I get, I continue to realize that what I have is very rare. A lot people have fathers who were unfaithful, absent, addicted, abusive, or a workaholic. This becomes so damaging to how a person comes to view God. I know people even in their 50s and 60s who are still affected to this day by how their father treated them; and these people have struggled to know the true Jesus.
The last thing I want to do is make light of these situations, but, for me, I almost had the opposite scenario. Instead of having a bad father to paint a poor picture of God, I failed to realize that my good earthly father painted a wonderful picture of my good heavenly Father.
Just like my dad was a faithful provider, Father God is ultimately there to take care of me and supply all of my needs. Not only that, but God wants to lavish gifts on me and give me the desires of my heart just like my earthly father did. This was always the hardest thing for me to come to grips with, that God wanted to to give me more that just my bare necessities. But Jesus spoke to me that, if my dad (who is still human and faulty) gave me way more than what I need, then why would he not do the same?
God also gave me a picture. He recalled memories from when I was younger playing and wrestling on the floor with my dad, going to Blockbuster and picking out a movie to watch on a Friday night, cutting out and painting my Pinewood Derby race car. I pictured the way my dad hugged me tightly before going off to college, and it was as if Jesus was actually embracing me in the same way.
In the midst of a cultural Christianity that says our relationship with Jesus is supposed to be serious and “reverent”, I read in scripture that we are supposed to be like little children before God. And God is our Abba, daddy. What do little children do with their daddy? The play, they laugh, they build things, and, ultimately, they rest in the fact that their daddy has it all under control.
What an incredible responsibility that dads have to shape their children’s view of God. But it is also an amazing opportunity. I am not a father yet in the traditional sense of the word, but I do have the privilege of loving and supporting twenty children where my wife and I live in Haiti who have been abandoned to an orphanage. I often wish I could do more for these kids, but, if nothing else, I hope and pray that I can show them that there is a good heavenly Father out there who loves them like I do.
For those of you who did not have a good father like I did, my heart goes out to you. I can’t imagine the hurt you have endured because of it. But what an incredible opportunity you have (or will have) to break that cycle of dysfunction and display for your children who God really is. I know God does not expect that we do it perfectly, just that we do our best while relying on him.
This Father’s Day, I want to honor my dad because I am so grateful for the the way he has taught me the kind of father that God is. I know my dad would say he has not been perfect at it—and no dad is perfect—but because of him I now have a better picture who God is and who I am in him.