Father’s Day comes every year and with its arrival, many young men and women struggle. They struggle with absent fathers who may live at home but who aren’t present. They struggle with a father who has abandoned them completely, leaving them to be part of the foster care system or to live with a family member or friend. This Father’s Day I’m in the Seattle area with my wife visiting my father for Father’s Day as well as visiting my family. I look forward every three to six months visiting my family in Seattle and visiting the city where I spent the first twenty-six years of my life.
This Father’s Day is special. We’ll all gather around and enjoy a BBQ at my mom’s house. Time with family is precious. I remember it was not more than three years ago when my dad wasn’t around. He was living in Eastern Washington, but no one knew where. I remember three years ago today praying for him and asking the Lord to bring him back into my life. I’m so grateful my heavenly Father heard my plea. I know for many young men and women they don’t get their prayers answered in the way they wish for having their parents back. So, I’m grateful to my heavenly Father that He heard my pleas and answered my prayer.
Father’s Day for some brings up memories of pain and heartache for many people. I know those pains well. For the first seventeen years of my life, I didn’t have a relationship with my earthly father, until one day when we went on a walk where the Lord restored us to one another. You see God desires to bring reconciliation to families. God is in the reconciliation business. He reconciles sinners through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Furthermore, through the work of the Holy Spirit, God empowers His people to be agents of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:20-21).
We live in a world of broken promises. After all, we’re sinners by nature and by choice. I remember my dad telling me how his dad abandoned he and his brother (my uncle) when they were young. This story isn’t a new one. In fact, it’s one that happens every day and perhaps has even to you reading this. I want you to know you are not alone. You have a Father in heaven who truly loves you and cares for you. He is a Father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). He is not distant as you might think or uncaring as you may feel. Instead, He is faithful and loving. He reaches out to you.
Remember the Prodigal Son story in Luke 15. The father gives his son his inheritance only to have his son squander everything he had been given in a foreign land. Then the son comes home after living in a pig pen and the father sees the son and runs towards him. The father running towards his son was something old men in that culture didn’t do. This father loved his son and didn’t care what people thought about him. Even so, the father ran to the son and embraced his son whom he loved. This is a beautiful picture of the love of our heavenly Father God. He loves us so much that he runs towards us. Jesus leaves the ninety-nine and goes after the one lost sheep who needs to be found (John 10:1-21).
The story of the Prodigal Son is the story of all of us. You may not have gotten your inheritance and squandered it, but each one of us has sinned and fallen short of our Father’s commands. We have, whether consciously or unknowingly violated His laws, commands, and statues. This is why Jesus had come to die in our place for our sin. He came to die because He loved us. He knows the depths of our sin and came to die for our sin so we could be redeemed and reconciled to God. Jesus came to take us out of the pig pen of our lives and give us a seat at His royal table, with royal privileges, and rights as a son and daughter of God.
I remember growing up how much I wanted to have a close relationship with my dad. When my dad left and I didn’t know where he was, I remember how lost I felt. I remember how much I wanted him back and how I tried everything to find him but to no avail. Yet, the Lord knew where my dad was, and He was loving me and showing me His love on a daily basis through His Son Jesus.
You may not be able to see your need for your heavenly Father right now and I understand. You may feel abandoned and unloved. Yet in the midst of those feelings I want you to read the Prodigal Son story in Luke 15. Note the love of a father for his son. This is the love of your heavenly Father for you. This is why your heavenly Father sent Jesus to die the death you deserved. This is why we can have hope, healing, redemption, and reconciliation with Jesus.
I don’t know if your father will return. I can’t promise that, but I can promise you that there is a Father in heaven who knows your name. He created you in His image and likeness. He sent Jesus His only Son to die for you so you could have life in Him. I don’t know your story, your hurts, and your pains this day, but I do know One who does. He loves you and cares for you.
This Father’s Day by God’s grace decide that you are going to look to your Father in heaven—the One who created you, sustains you, and who sent His Son to die for you for your hope and healing. Life goes so fast. Living a bitter, empty, and hollow life is no life at all. God desires more for you. Run to your heavenly Father who loves you and cares for you. There you’ll find hope and healing for your broken heart. There in the arms of your heavenly Father you’ll find redemption, reconciliation and be able to enjoy the royal privileges of a son or daughter of our Father in heaven.
Dave Jenkins is happily married to Sarah Jenkins. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021) and The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.