Sunday Chronicles. #253. June 20, 2021. FATHER’S DAY
On this day when we honor our fathers, some of us have or had loving fathers who provided for us and taught us the right way to live. Others had fathers who were critical and abusive. Some had fathers who simply ignored them or did not want to be bothered by their children. US Census stats report one in four children in our nation are now living in a home without a father. A sad commentary on our society!
Yet all of us have a Father in Heaven who loves us, always has time for us, and wants to guide us through life. It’s almost too much to believe, isn’t it? The Great God of the Universe LOVES me? But I’ve messed up…maybe not obeyed Him? And He still loves me? When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, the first words of the prayer are “Our Father Who is in Heaven…” (Matt. 6:9). When you pray you are not talking to some stranger, but to God who loves you like a father.
A young lad in a major foreign city accompanied his grandmother each morning to temples where idol gods were set up; she took food to present to these man-made gods. When the boy ask why she did this, she told him it kept the gods from being angry with her. One day as they walked home, they saw a group of people with musical instruments singing on a street corner. The boy asked the grandmother what they were singing about. She told him, “They have a God who loves them!” Later the boy learned that these singers had a school for young people to learn about the God who loves them. He began following Jesus and became a leader in churches in his nation.
This Heavenly Father belongs to all of us who will accept Him as our Father and His Son Jesus as our Savior! Jesus told a parable that most Bibles label “The Prodigal Son” (Luke 15:11-32). I think a better name for it would be “The Loving Father.” This father had two sons; the older one assisted him on his farm. But the younger one was restless; he wanted to see the world. So he asked his father to give him his part of the inheritance; then he left home and went to “a far country.”
Unscrupulous “scam artists” quickly identified this rich young man as one without experience in life or finances. They became his “friends” until his pockets were empty; finally, to keep from starving, the young man took a job feeding pigs. For a Jewish boy, this was as low as it gets. The farmer didn’t even give him food; he had to eat with the pigs.
Hungry, wearing ragged clothes coated with filth from the pig pen, he remembered the servants in his father’s house. They had good food, adequate clothing, and a safe place to rest at night. He decided he would go back home, and ask his father to allow him to be a servant in his home. How many days he had to walk and beg food for strength to make the journey back, I have no idea; but he certainly came back in a different style than he went out!
In the meantime, his father longed to see his son. I’m guessing that many mornings, he looked down the road, and thought, “Perhaps my son will come home today!” Then one morning the father looked again and saw someone walking…..walking like his son! The father rushed down the road to meet him. He threw his arms around his boy, and the boy sobbed out his repentance and sorrow, asking only to fill a servant’s place. But the father ordered servants to bring one of the best robes for the boy, a ring for his finger, and sandals for his feet. He ordered a feast to celebrate his son’s homecoming.
In this parable, Jesus was giving His audience an understanding of a God Who loves us even when we’re not perfect. He paid the ultimate price…the death of His Son on the cross… to redeem us (see John 3:16). If the cares of life or anything else have separated you from this Loving Heavenly Father, He’s watching for you to come home. Don’t delay; enjoy His love today and share that love with someone who needs it!…Peace, jwb
Personal Notes: It has been summertime this week in Springfield with daily temps in the 90s and no rain. But a cool front is on the way and with it possible t-storms. Lizards have returned to my patio, and I’ve discovered some birds chasing them off! Quite fun to watch! The bird population is increasing, and we work to keep feed out! Physically, I’m struggling with increased arthritis pain, especially in my knees and right arm and shoulder. I’m using my left hand more than usual. Your prayers, cards, e-mails…all the kind things you do for me…help me keep trying to write. Please pray that God will use the words I struggle to type to encourage and bless anyone who reads them.
Illustration by Clemence Sophie de Sermezy