My dad’s ears were enormous – big, rubbery flaps on each side of his head, secure handholds when I rode on his shoulders. Dad didn’t simply walk around when he gave horsey rides; he galloped and bounded. Let me tell you: those ears were the difference between a hilarious, exhilarating ride and certain death. That’s why they were there. He also used them to listen to us. His hands, likewise, were shaped exactly to fit the needs of a son who needed a bicycle seat adjusted, a scraped knee bandaged or a comforting, encouraging hand on the shoulder. His lap was adjustable and could easily accommodate two or three kids at story time. His deep bass voice carried the tune for many funny songs during long drives and could just as easily restore order to a couple of rowdy boys mixing up mayhem in the back seat. My dad could wrap his arms around you from behind and show you how to use a drill or a spokeshave. He could fix a twisted slinky. Dad would have been 100 years old this week, had it not been for a nasty dustup with cancer. But I can still feel his ears pressed against my own as I hugged him for the final time.
If we could choose our parents, I’d have chosen Dad. No dads are perfect – some far from it – but my dad came pretty close. That’s why it means so much to me that Jesus told us to think of God in Heaven as our Father. I think He wanted us to feel as comfortable, secure and loved as I did growing up. For example, He said,
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. – (Matthew 6:31-32)
When asked how we should pray, how we should speak when we dare to address the Almighty, majestic, sovereign, Ruler of the universe, Jesus instructed us to start like this: “Our Father…” He told us to speak with God as a loving father, humbly and confidently asking for what we need – even when what we need is forgiveness! He said for us not to try to connect with God with fancy words or repetitive phrases but to understand that God truly hears us as we come to Him with sincere hearts.
I guess God has big ears too.
I don’t know how you tap into my thoughts so consistently. My father would have been 100 this coming March 19, and I have been thinking about him a lot. He was good man, but a stoic, undemonstrative Norwegian farmer, so I have more trouble equating “father” with “Father” than you do. But I have made progress, particularly relying on the promise in Psalm 93: “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge.”
Dear Friend Tom, You are such a blessing from Father. Thank you for sharing about your dad. You know what? I am guessing you having your dad is what makes you such a great dad and encourager! And yes! God IS our Papa!
There’s a lump in my throat, and you know why, Tom. I remember lying in our bunk beds and beginning to chant, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy-Daddy-Daddy” . . .
Thanks Tom for a fitting birthday tribute to Dad. Yes, Dave, a lump in my throat too.
Laughing through my tears. Thank you, Tom. Thank you, Dad. Thank you, Father.