Rob here. It was Father’s Day here in New Zealand on Sunday. Since becoming a Dad nearly 5 years ago my world has been turned upside down. The depth and ferocity of my love for my children has given me a glimpse into the Father Heart of God. Below is an excerpt from my Father’s Day sermon. It touched many hearts and I pray that it may touch yours.
‘What was the message we got from our dads? Did you hear that you were the beloved
son, the beloved daughter, the apple of your father’s eye?
Sons, did you hear that you have what it takes, you are the real deal, you are my
right hand man?
Women, did you hear that you are beautiful inside and out, that you are seen, known
and valued just as you are?
Was your heart known and valued by your father? Were you delighted in, played with,
celebrated, disciplined healthily, stretched because your dad saw what you could be, prayed over, spiritually fed by your father?
Or were you abused, ignored, teased, unloved, the victim of anger and your dads
own immaturity. Were you spiritually malnourished? Did you keep the rules and
have your heart overlooked?
Maybe you were somehow both. Dad took me to my sports games. When I had fallen arches and was the last back from a hike at our school camp, dad came out and walked
the last half mile with me. Just a few years ago he initiated the hug. Beautiful moments for sure, but my enduring image is being in the ocean in Christchurch; Mum on the shoreline begging me not to go out any further and Dad out there in the big waves. I was caught in-between and I longed for my father to come and get me, take me out to where he was. I wanted him to act like the hero I believed him to be. But he didn’t and I stayed in-between.
But someone did come and get me. Someone came into my world, put his arm around my
shoulder and led me to my Father, and that person was Jesus; my and our older brother.
Jesus is our older brother who ‘shows us the Father.’ The Father is unseen, somewhat
unknown but what’s true for Jesus is true for us. This includes intimacy with the Father. When we enter into life with Jesus we enter into his relationship with the Father.
Jesus said this to his disciples; “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. Anyone who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them…Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them (John 14:19-21, 23).”
To be Fathered is to open up our hearts to the true Father as Jesus did. We acknowledge that we are unfinished, fatherless in many ways. But what’s true for Jesus is true for us and so through the Spirit, we experience the Fathers love for us, the same love that he has for Jesus; the same love that he expressed at Jesus’ baptism through the Spirit; “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased (Luke 3:22).”
I want to share with you the story of Derek Redmond. He was running in the 400 meters at the Barcelona Olympics. This initself was a miracle. 4 years earlier he was set to race when he injured his Achilles Tendon warming up and had to withdraw 10 minutes before the race started. One report says that he’d had 8 operations in 5 years, another said 22. His dad, Jim, had been with him the whole way, went to every race, helped coach and now sat proudly in the stands as his son raced in the semifinal.
Apparaently the dialogue went like this:
“You don’t have to do this” Jim told his son.
“Yes I do” Derek replied.
“Well then” said Jim, “we’re going to finish this together”
Just before they reached the finish line, with the crowd screaming in support, Jim Redmond let his son go, so that he could cross the line on his own.
After the race Derrick Redmond was interviewed and he said “My father was the only person who could have helped me, because he understood everything that I had been through.”
My favourite part of this video is watching the officials quiver in the face of a Fathers fierce love for his son. The Father’s love for us is the most powerful force in the universe and it is most fully expressed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our older brother. Thank you Jesus for showing us the Father.