One of my favorite memories with my dad is the day he brought home several giant boxes. My mom was off to a ladies’ retreat for the weekend, and my dad made special plans to order pizza (our favorite!) and build a playhouse out of several copier boxes. Did I mention he worked in the copier industry?
The house we lived in at that time was my favorite childhood house. It was a yellow split level with a full basement that became our roller skating rink, a 2nd level that housed the bedrooms and main parts of the house, and the 3rd level that was a huge dormer. That dormer became the perfect place for our new playhouse.
My dad’s not an engineer, but he’s pretty handy, and he made a spectacular little house. My sister and I each had a bedroom and there was a grand foyer in the middle. Well, the foyer was grand to us anyway! My mom sewed us curtains and helped us make flower boxes for the windows, too.
I don’t know what your earthly father is like. I know we probably all have different experiences. For many, many years I struggled to see my father’s love. I always went to him for advice because he was great at pointing out all the things that were wrong or the potential pitfalls of a plan. He was great to have on your side because he was smart and stood his ground in his convictions like a bulldog. His judgment and his directness were easy to see. But it has taken me many years to really begin to look for the ways my dad showed his love because it seemed to me for a long time that he didn’t at all. There weren’t words of encouragement or hugs or expressions that he was proud of me or general compliments, and those were the ways I craved for him to show love. I just had to open my eyes to see how he’s the first person to defend me when he suspects I’m being wronged in some way. And he’ll be the first to come help me with a house project or car project. He comes to me to discuss music because we share the love of it–a love he fostered in me.
Maybe you related well to your earthly father or maybe you don’t know yours at all. The good news is that we have a heavenly Father who is a perfect Father. I like the picture that Hosea paints of Him:
When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. I taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by their arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love, and I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them. Hosea 11:1, 3-4
Here as a Father, He calls His children out of bondage, teaches them to walk, heals them (without any acknowledgement or gratitude from them), draws with gentle love, removes burdens, and stoops down to feed them. What a beautiful picture! How often He has stooped down to feed me because otherwise I would have starved because I have no strength in myself. And how often do we turn our faces away from Him only to be drawn back with His gentle cords of love! He teaches us how to walk by upholding us under the arms as we take each step. This is our Father!