Some dads play hide-and-seek. Not the fun kind. The kind where a child looks for him, but he’s rarely home. A daughter asks for a bit of his time, but he’s usually too busy. A son begs him to play, but he’s too tired. Or the dad gives of his time, but his attention is elsewhere.
Some dads play hide-and-seek with their secret habits – attempting to disguise the wounds they’ve inflicted with pretty bandages called excuses and lies.
And, sadly, some dads have gone into permanent hiding, leaving children with unfulfilled needs and unanswered questions. In fact, one third of children in the United States live without a father in their home.* The impact is devastating, accounting for 63% of youth suicides, 90% of homeless and runaway children, 85% of behavior disorders, 80% of rapists, and 71% of high school dropouts.**
Why are “hidden” dads so common? I think if we try to discover a societal cause, we will find ourselves digging further and further back in history until we get to the beginning of time. I’m sure some cultures have less of this than others, but I doubt there are many. I’d like to propose another cause.
Since the Bible frequently refers to God as our Father, it’s no wonder Satan would seek to discredit that role through painful human experiences. If Satan can make the earthly father/child relationship miserable, then he can stir all sorts of doubt, pain, and resentment in the spiritual relationship, too. I’m not excusing human fathers’ poor choices. I am, though, reminding us of who our true enemy is and exposing his devious tactics.
Father’s Day is this Sunday. As SAFE moms, with children who suffer from the loss of their biological fathers, it is vital we model for them how to honor fathers – both in our honoring of their adoptive father (if there is one) and in honoring our own fathers.
But what if we have a “hidden” father, as well? How do we honor him?
1. Recognize who the real enemy is and refuse to let him have the upper hand in your heart.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
2. Realize your dad operates out of his own wounds – quite possibly inflicted by his father.
“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me'” (Romans 15:1-3, NIV).
3. Record a list of your dad’s strengths and honor those. Can’t think of any? Start with the fact that you carry his DNA. Could your good qualities have come from him? Surely there are some.
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8, NIV).
4. Request in prayer that God restore your dad to the man He created him to be. If he’s no longer alive, pray for God to restore a vision of that in your heart.
“So God created man in His own image” (Genesis 1:27)
5. Refuse to let Satan interfere in your relationship with Father God any longer. Let God be what He longs to be for you. After all, He is the Father to the fatherless.
Let God arise,
Let His enemies be scattered;
Let those also who hate Him flee before Him.
. . .
Sing to God, sing praises to His name;
Extol Him who rides on the clouds,
By His name YAH,
And rejoice before Him.
A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
Psalm 68:1, 4-5, NKJV
©Cheri Johnson June 2016