This is my first Father’s Day without my daddy. Mixed feelings. It has really caused me to think back. But it has also caused me to think presently. You see, the truth is that my daddy was once my granddaddy. When I was young he laid down his plans for the future he had been planning for and took on a new destiny. He adopted my sisters and me. Whatever kind of retirement he had always dreamed of, whatever places he had hoped to travel to with mamma, he (and mamma) laid it all down to raise a second generation of children. So the truth is, even though daddy is gone I have a biological father that is still out there. A biological father who essentially disappeared around the time I was three. He sent me a high school graduation gift and a heart-felt letter. I found out where he lived and went to see him when I was 19. An attempt was made to build a relationship, but honestly I don’t think either he or I put enough effort into making it work. I didn’t have absentee daddy issues. I had a daddy who loved me. That was enough.
I have no hateful feelings toward him. I never have. But even though there were no hateful feelings, I still had to work through some forgiveness issues. The truth is I would have welcomed him back at any time and there was some hurt because he never made that choice. I would welcome him, even today. I believe in second chances. God has given me innumerable second chances in Christ, I don’t see how I can’t extend them to others. Because Christ forgave me, I have forgiven him. If you ever read this bio-dad (don’t want to use your name in this public setting), give me a call.
When daddy adopted me, let’s just say that the things in my three-year-old world that made the adoption necessary were less than ideal and leave it at that. I believe, though, that through the adoption my notions about fatherhood were redeemed from becoming ruined. Adoption is redemption. When a father adopts children who are not his own, he is redeeming their lives, saving them from becoming a statistic; redeeming their destinies before they are set for destruction. That’s what my daddy did for me. When bio-dad left, what would’ve happened to me if daddy hadn’t been there to adopt me? How would my take on fathers have been affected? Would I have become a victim of the absentee father culture that has destroyed so many children? And the question that is nearest to my heart: what kind of husband and father would I have become? I’m so thankful for the way my daddy redeemed me from a destiny where I might’ve been something completely different!
You may think I’m tossing the word redeemed about kind of flippantly, but I assure you I’m not. In fact, what my daddy did for me foreshadows nicely what God the Father has done by adopting me into his family! In Jesus Christ, he has rescued me from a horrible destiny.
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:15-17)
What daddy did for me in a finite scale, God has done for me on an infinite scale! Redemption of a life that was unable to do anything about his circumstances; I was 3 and helpless, but daddy redeemed me by adopting me. I was lost, dead in my sins, unable to even know that I was in need of redemption, but God opened my eyes when I was 16 to my need, and revealed to me his son Jesus. God redeemed me by adopting me into his family when I trusted Christ as my Redeemer. His blood, his resurrection, his indwelling Holy Spirit have sealed for me a new destiny.
Today, be grateful for your fathers. If you’re adopted, be doubly grateful and doubly loving! I am grateful for mine. And I am hopeful that the future holds a redeemed relationship with bio-dad. Hold your dads close today and tell them that you love them. He may not say it much, but I promise that every time he hears those words, it sinks deep. Happy Father’s Day!