June 10, 2013
You don’t get better by treating the symptoms; you need to find the cause.
I make no claims to being a health-care professional, but that statement applies to more than physiological issues. In most categories of life, addressing the “what” preoccupies most people; they never seem to get to the “why.” Manifestations are usually indicators of something far deeper than that which is observed. To really resolve troubling conditions, you have to get to the root, rather than just whacking away at the branches.
Father’s Day will focus some of the American culture on the role of a dad in the basic building block of society: the family. It may be one of the most contested Hallmark holidays of our annual calendar: for a growing number of people, the very concept of fatherhood incites emotional reactions that disallow a principled conversation.
Modern – dare I say “liberal” – thinking has diminished the contribution of men to the family dynamic to the level of sperm donor. Single parenting – both by default and by design – is on the rise, but it translates into fatherless families lacking the presence of a man to do what only men can do. If much of the residual effect of fathers has been measured deficient, who needs ‘em, anyway?
It won’t hit the headlines, but an honest appraisal of culture’s ills – circa 2013 – would find widespread evidence of shortfalls on the fathering front. From the majority of the contemporary penal population – who lacked a meaningful relationship with a father – to the driven-to-succeed moguls – whose passion for performance often springs from a desperate effort to gain the approval of a demanding dad – we are a nation suffering from a significant shortfall of something vital.
Once you tune your ear to the frequency of fathering, you can pick up the rattle of men and women whose paternal pathology has left them with a life-long condition that was never intended by the Creator. What happened?
When Jesus kicked off his campaign to rescue the dying from the race God created for connection, He convened a crowd to hear His invitation into the relationship that would reestablish the original intent.
It was in the Sermon on the Mount that He invited the people who knew something was missing into the ultimate solution. Here was the verse from the Father’s Day greeting card that He offered to people longing to be adopted into a healthy family: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6)
Everyone has their own caricature of God; if you paint them on a wanted poster, they would never find Him in the crowd. “Vengeful bully,” or “distant force,” or “panacea for the masses” would capture the majority of the misconceptions. “Loving father who would do anything to rescue his children” would be way down the list of descriptors for the police artist to sketch into the composite…
It’s true, though. He’s not a figment of uneducated imaginations, and He sure isn’t out to rain on parades and destroy the quality of life for people in the path of peril. Instead, He is the respectful sovereign who knows everything about his creation, loves us anyway… and went to great lengths to enable the restoration of a healthy relationship, without removing our freedom to choose. How so?
He loves the world so much… that He sent the only Son He has to rescue the creation He lost, knowing that only a suicide mission would succeed…
God knows we need dads. In fact, He stepped up to be the dad we need the most…