Father’s Day elicits many different emotions from each of us. For many people, it is a day of celebration. It is a wonderful time of being together remembering good times and creating new memories. For some, it is a reminder of loss; and while those fathers that have left this world have moved on to a better place, the sadness is no less real. Others may feel apathy or even anger toward fathers who have disappointed or neglected them.
For centuries, the image of God as our father has been presented in Christian teaching, music, poetry and art. While we shouldn’t forget that God is also revealed to us as a mother, sibling, friend, shepherd, leader, servant and countless other identities, for now let us focus again on this fatherly identity.
For me God has been that father that I love to hold close. Feeling his love, being proud of whom he has made me to be, learning to live life and love others. God has also been the father from whom I feel distant. I have felt alone, as if I am going through life blindly with no help or sense of direction. God has also been the father with whom I am angry because of disappointments in life. I spent many years doing all I could to push him away.
But unlike our earthly fathers who are only human and make mistakes, God is the perfect father. When I am happy, he is there. When I feel alone, he is still there. When I am angry, he does not leave me.
My dear friend Cheryl Reid wrote beautiful lyrics that perfectly describe the fathering nature of God. No matter on what part of life’s journey I am, I know that God is carrying me. God is there, holding my hand. Even in the trying times of life when it seems all hope is lost, God is right beside me.
He Will Carry Me
Lyrics by Cheryl Reid
As a father holds his children
When he gently lifts them up into his arms,
He comforts and assures them
As he guards, protects and shelters them from harm
So does God, my heavenly Father.
He has promised he will keep me to the end,
And I know that he is with me;
He’s my rock, my guide, and he’s my dearest friend.
He will carry me; he will carry me
Through the night, through the danger, through the test.
He will carry me; he will carry me.
In his strong, loving arms I find rest.
In my pain and in my sorrow,
When my heart breaks from the trials I cannot bear,
My father lifts me to him;
And he takes the weight of all my worldly care.
In his word I find assurance;
My faithful God is fully in control.
In the darkness of the trial
He gives rest and peace and comfort to my soul.