It’s Father’s Day tomorrow and it’s one of those days of the year that have been difficult for me to celebrate for my entire lifetime. I didn’t have a father – I had three. My mother married three times as I was growing up. I was never given the opportunity to know my biological father and I didn’t emotionally connect with my second or third father.
So, when this particular Sunday in June rolls around every year, it’s always a pensive time for me.
J.I.Packer once said, “If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father.”
I understand what he’s saying. God has been my heavenly Father since I was fourteen years old. I am His child.
One of my favourite pictures of the fatherhood of God happened two decades ago this summer, at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, when a sprinter named Derek Redmond violently tore a hamstring during the 400 metre semi-final. As he lay on the track, wracked with pain, he was determined not to quit, so he stood and began to hobble the final 250 metres. The crowd rose to its feet as the runner rounded the final turn and tried to will himself home.
Suddenly, rushing from the crowd, shoving his way past security and medical staff, came his father, who offered his son a supportive arm and helped carry him to the finish line. They finished the race, with the elder Redmond forcefully waving away anyone who dared approach his son.
This is what a father does. Protect, love, guide…just like Nick Wallenda’s father did as he gently led his wire -walking son across the Niagara Gorge last night. It was beautiful to witness.
…and as Nick walked, he thanked his heavenly Father…every step of the way.