Friday, November 16, 2012

Thinking about our two fathers, one heavenly and one earthly (Matthew 6:9) with thoughts from Erma Bombeck on her father.

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9 (NIV)
This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven….”

One of the best pictures I've ever seen on the current confusion on the placement of fathers comes from Erma Bombeck. She paints a portrait of a little girl who loved her dad but wasn't sure what dads do:
One morning my father didn't get up and go to work. He went to the hospital and died the next day. I hadn't thought that much about him before. He was just someone who left and came home and seemed glad to see everyone at night. He opened the jar of pickles when no one else could. He was the only one in the house who wasn't afraid to go into the basement by himself.
He cut himself shaving, but no one kissed it or got excited about it. It was understood when it rained, he got the car and brought it around to the door. When anyone was sick, he went out to get the prescription filled. He took lots of pictures . . . but he was never in them.
Whenever I played house, the mother doll had a lot to do. I never knew what to do with the daddy doll, so I had him say, "I'm going off to work now," and threw him under the bed. The funeral was in our living room and a lot of people came and brought all kinds of good food and cakes. We had never had so much company before. I went to my room and felt under the bed for the daddy doll. When I found him, I dusted him off and put him on my bed. He never did anything. I didn't know his leaving would hurt so much (Family -- The Ties that Bind . . and Gag! (New York: Fawcett Books, 1988, p. 2).

We each have an earthly father and a heavenly Father. For some the two can come rather close together as in being very similar. But, for most of us that is not the case … and yet, even when our earthly father wasn’t the best and we didn’t fully understand nor appreciate what he did within the family we felt his absence when he was no longer there.

It probably is true that most of us long for a father who will love us regardless of the many mistakes that we have made. We desire to have a father who will see past our failures and love us anyway. Our hearts ache for a father who is at his best when we are at our worst. That father is our heavenly Father. No earthly father can come close to the ideal.

We look into the face of our earthly father hoping to see glimpses of the heavenly one, but alas, no human father can match the unmatchless love and grace of the heavenly. And so we can only give thanks to God for the two fathers that we do have … one who is flawed and one who is flawless … one who is strongest when we are at our weakest … one who is far more ready to forgive than we are ready to confess …  

Our Father, who is heavenly thank you for giving us our earthly father – warts and all. Thank you for loving us when we are far from lovable. Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for being a part of our life. 

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