A Tale of Three Dads

From left: Carole, Ginger, Jack, Kathy

William Purves.

A hard man.
Forged in a school of hard knocks.
Without Christ.
And with an infinity for getting lost in a bottle. Or a glass.
Glass after glass. Bottle after bottle.

His wife longed for a child.
So he grudgingly gave in.
And she went to the orphanage and asked for the child no one else wanted.
But he made sure that that little boy knew that “Blood is thicker than water.”

Neither William nor his beloved wife, Marley, knew God personally then.
But it was the 40’s.
So a child must be sent to church.

And there, at church, that child, little Jackie, met a heavenly Father.
In sharp contrast to his earthly Dad, this Father wanted him.
Loved him.
Had a plan for his life.
Thought he was worth dying for.

Accepting the love of the Heavenly Father changed the trajectory of the life of my earthly Father, the little boy Jackie, who grew into the man I call Daddy.

And I am so grateful.
Grateful for my earthly Dad who introduced me from birth to my Heavenly Dad.
My imperfect Father who consistently pointed me and my sister to my perfect Father in Heaven.
A man who broke the heritage of addiction and bestowed the legacy of a godly home.

I know I am blessed.
And I know that many of you do not have your earthly Dad.
He left.
He died.
He treated you badly.
Or you never knew him.

So it is hard for you to understand how your Father in heaven feels about you.
It is difficult to accept His unconditional love.
Unfathomable to think that He “rejoices over you with singing” and “daily carries you in His arms.”

But when you cannot imagine that, remember this:
The love you have for the person nearest to your heart is microscopic compared to the love your Heavenly Father has for you.
Take what you feel and multiply it by the largest number you can imagine.
And know that that is your Heavenly Father’s heart for you.

How do I know?
Because that Father sacrificed His Son so that He could have a relationship with you.
He put His beloved child in your place, as a substitute to bear the consequences of your sin.
And then He caused that same child to rise from the dead so that you never have to be alone.
You never have to fear death.
You never have wonder about the extent of His power.
And you never have to guess about His heart for you.

Shortly before he died, William accepted the gift of eternal life offered by His heavenly Father.
I believe he was able to choose that, able to believe that, able to trust that because of the way my Dad treated him.
Where Jackie was offered rejection, he chose to extend love.  Where he was bestowed condemnation, he chose to lavish grace. Where he could have followed William’s lead, he chose instead to follow Yaweh’s instead.

And my life is just one of the results.

Father God, thank You for my earthly Dad. Thank You for the ways he has pointed me to You. And thank You for Your work in his life, your hand on him from birth, through the orphanage and into his difficult home. Thank You for the church that made a difference by sharing Your Word and Your love with that boy. And thank You that my Father is not at all like my Grandfather.

For my friends who are hurting this Father’s Day because of their earthly dads, may You be extraordinarily real to them to day. Close. Comforting. May they know Your presence and Your peace. And may they love as You have loved them. Break the chains in their hearts that were forged by their earthly Dads. And replace them with the healing that only You can bring.

In the name of Jesus, the One who pointed us to You,
Amen

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