“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18)

It’s nice to know there is a Father who takes care of us.

When it comes to Father’s Day, we tend to think in terms of our earthly fathers and what they mean to us, the good times and the bad, the happy times and the sad.

Some of us had great dads, some not so great. Some of us never knew our dads.

Father’s Day is a time to reflect on fathers everywhere. That is all good and well.

God’s Word tells us to honor both our fathers and mothers:

     “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)

As a Christian, every day is Father’s Day for me, and that is a point worth celebrating — giving God the glory daily.

Consider this column a celebration of fatherhood. But to get there, we have to start at the beginning. Along the way, we will look at several distinct aspects of fatherhood:

1. Let’s Start With Me and My Dad.

One aspect of fatherhood is our relationship to our earthly father.

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized who my real father was, God Almighty.

Up until then, I thought a father was what the other kids had. You know, the kind who takes you to ball games and Disneyland and gives you an occasional hug and leaves no doubt you are wanted.

I got the other model off the shelf, the moody, distant one prone to fits of rage; the kind that made a boy live in fear.

Today I hold no animosity for my Dad, who has passed on. I had to experience a tumultuous childhood so I could grasp God’s true, real love for me. I came to understand that God had my life planned out from even at a young age.

The minute I was born I knew it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I may as well been named Alexander.

What else could I think growing up as a kid in Los Angeles?

If you looked up “dysfunctional” in the dictionary you would see our family portrait. 

There were some days I thought my Dad was a pretty good Dad.

He hailed from the Old Country, and while he didn’t have a stellar education by today’s standards, he had a strong work ethic and could speak eight languages fluently!

But any “plus sides” to my Dad are quickly overwhelmed by the negatives. He was ruled by his frustrations that made him moody and distant, as if having kids was merely a gateway to free labor and just an inconvenient byproduct of marriage.

It’s a terrible feeling as a kid not to be wanted. I can see why Jesus’ heart went out to the children.

My dad had tempestuous mood swings that made Joan Crawford look like an angel in “Mommie Dearest,” and a temper that would lead him to beat on me with the zeal of a Rastafarian in a drum circle.

I grew up afraid of my Dad. I didn’t know until after he died he had shrapnel in his head, courtesy of an exploding German artillery shell on the island of Crete in World War II.

2. You as the Father of Your Family

I resolved that if I ever became a father, I wouldn’t be like my Dad. Little did I know at the time that Jesus was taking me to school with my old man and preparing me for what lay ahead: The absolute joys of fatherhood.

I have two marvelous sons, ages 23 and 25. They are like bookends: One is neat, the other not so neat; one is very organized, the other very unorganized; one gets things done in advance, the other waits until the last minute.

Both are smart, UCLA graduates with good jobs. They are my joy and live up to the Bible verse that says:

      “A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son brings grief to his mother.” (Proverbs 17:21)

3. How Your Children See You as Their Father

It is important we earn the respect of our children by nurturing them, loving them and making them feel wanted. 

As dads, we let them know they are a blessing in our lives, and a big part of our lives. The worst thing we can do is make our children feel unwanted.

Fatherhood comes with responsibility. We are not to anger our children.

God’s Word says:

    “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)

Dads, are you raising your children in the ways of the Lord? Those who do will reap benefits. I can attest to that.

   “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

Love your children and they will love you back. I feel the love between father and sons, sons and father.

God is the difference. God is love and He builds bridges of love in families. 

4. The Relationship Between You and Your Heavenly Father

Father’s Day does not have to be just about us as dads or about our dads. For me, Father’s Day is a reminder of who my Heavenly Father is. Perhaps it takes a rough and tumble past to appreciate a personal relationship with God with even greater joy.

I take this Bible verse to heart:

    “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.” (Psalm 27:10)

I have learned to dwell on what I have now, not what I didn’t have in the past. 

I have a relationship with My Father that has taken all the bruises, hurts, sadness, disappointments, fears and feelings of lost childhood and buried them deep in the sea.

This is My Father who taught me how to love, how to forgive, how not to live in fear or in the past. He taught me how to respect and to treat others as I would want to be treated. Through His Son Jesus, He gave me life when I had none.

This is My God who loves me. This is my Everlasting Father who I can cry with, laugh with and talk with. This is my Abba.

Dads, if you are reading this and don’t know the love God has for you, invite Him into your heart right now.

It will be a Father’s Day you will never forget, and a Father’s Day you will always rejoice.