Summary: Three things a child needs to hear from his dad and his Heavenly Father
“Words from Father”
June 15, 2014
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
I had the toughest dad in Northern Minnesota. He was respected by everyone. Being a decorated World War II hero had something to do with it. His reputation as a fighter certainly had something to do with it. His ability to use harsh and profane words when crossed had something to do with it. But there was no doubt – he was respected. He demanded respect. And we respected him.
Dad could also be tender and gentle, too, especially when he accepted Christ as his Savior. When he held a baby or when he held Mom in his arms I saw I side of him that was usually kept hidden.
Dad’s words were very impactful. When he spoke – you better be listening. If not, a swift cuff upside the head would get your attention. Usually his words to me seemed pretty harsh and stern, but sometimes he would impart words of wisdom that I clearly remember to this day.
I remember when I joined the army during the Vietnam Conflict, dad gave me some advice on how to survive. I remember the words he spoke about being a good worker. That was important to him. I applied those words and was a employee everyplace I worked.
But the words that were most impactful to me where words not spoken. There are three things a child needs to hear from his father, 1. I love you; 2. I’m here; and 3. Good job!
Some of you don’t remember words that your father spoke because he wasn’t around. Maybe you didn’t have a father. Some of you had a father but maybe you would have been better off without him. I heard about some kids who had talked their Mom into getting a hamster. They promised to take care of their pet, whom they named “Danny.”
Within two months, though, Mom was taking care of Danny. One day Mom decided enough was enough; Danny would be given to a new owner. She called the kids together to tell them. One child said, “I’ll miss him. He’s been around here a long time.” The other child remarked, “Maybe he could stay if he ate less and wasn’t so messy.” Mom was firm, “It is time to take Danny to a new home.”
“Danny?” the kids wailed, “We thought you said Daddy.”
Ernest Hemingway lacked the love of a father in his life. I have read that he grew up in a very devote Christian home, but apparently he never received the love from his father that he needed, or responded to God’s grace. A story he wrote about a father gives a little glimpse into the longing of his soul. It is the story of a Spanish father who decided to reconcile with his son who had run away to Madrid. The father, in a moment of remorse, takes out this ad in the newspaper. "Paco, meet me at Hotel Montana, Noon, Tuesday… All is forgiven… Papa."
When the father arrived at the square in hopes of meeting his son, he found eight hundred Paco’s waiting to be reunited with their father. Was Paco such a popular name? Or was there just that many Pacoes who longed for their father's forgiveness? Perhaps that was the longing of Hemmingway’s heart as well when he ended his own life at the age of 63.
My Dad has been gone for quite a few years now, but I realize that I still am affected by his words in many ways. The words I didn’t hear from him until I was 42 was, “I love you”. Sure – I knew he did. He showed his love in many ways. We were always taken care of and provided for. But every child needs to hear those words addressed to him personally by his father – I love you.
When I was 42 I had a massive heart attack, and lying on what I thought I was my deathbed, I only had three regrets - I never went to Israel, I never grew a beard and never heard my Dad say “I love you”.
When I recovered I must have shared those words with my mom – because it wasn’t too long after that – that Dad called and before he hung up he spoke those three powerful words to me. From that time until he died many years later he often spoke them and even felt free enough for a quick, manly hug from time to time.