This is a tough one.
Maybe because I had a good dad. Perfect? No. All together all the time? No. Always my favorite person? No.
But he was a good dad. Faithful and hard working. Protector, provider, leader. In fact, I’ve known quite a few good dads. I married two of them.
So, the basic idea of Father is not all that remarkable, is it? Even when you add the Everlasting part, it doesn’t seem earth-shaking. As humans here on earth, the concept of eternal is acknowledged, but far from understood. We are taught that God is and was and is to come (Revelation 1:8) and we take the Bible at its word, whether we can comprehend its seemingly outrageous claims or not. We believe and we are comforted by its strength.
But I often forget the wonder of the words of Isaiah.
First of all, I had a good dad. Compared to some, I had a g-r-e-a-t! dad. I know too many sweet children who live most of their lives either fearing their dad or wondering who he really is.
I know of a boy who displeased his dad on a Tuesday. And for the offense, dad placed the worn wooden paddle on the kitchen counter with the promise he would use it “on Friday.” The physical punishment itself was no more or less than it would have been any other day. But the mental torment of seeing that paddle day after day, knowing what was going to come, anticipating the pain and humiliation was almost more than the boy could bear. Cruelty beyond belief.
And I know children who have just vague recollections of their fathers as well as those who have only the bitter words of a single mother, left alone with the kids and little else. Even the ones who try to slough off the feelings of abandonment and disguise their shame with bravado cannot always hide the devastating effects of living without a dad.
Yes, I had a good dad. And I know that some people didn’t, that they cringe at the sound of the word, having experienced only the fear or pain of absent or cruel fathers. But I cherish the promise we have: Jesus, God as man, will be a Father to all of us.
Secondly, we mourn the loss of our dads. Even when we know they suffer because of illness, or become frail and weaker with age, we often hang on at the end, wishing for just one more day, one more hour, one more minute. At times, even those with a less-than-picture-book relationship with dad feel a pinch when they die.
But Isaiah foretells a different story. He says that God, our Father, will never die. Despite the Romans’ vicious but meager attempts to take the life of Jesus, God prevailed, Jesus rose from His human grave and lives in everlasting glory, waiting for us in a far, far better place.
Yes, Jesus is forever. And ever.
If your relationship with your dad is strained or broken, I’ll pray for healing and restoration. If you never knew your dad, or if he’s gone and you miss him like crazy, I’ll pray for you, too.
But on the third Monday of this season of waiting and longing, remember the words of the prophet Isaiah and his promised blessing of an
May you experience the sweetness of an intimate and eternal relationship with Abba Father, the One who will always be.
Jesus, our Messiah, the hope of the world, is our Everlasting Father.