I am a father and I love my children. Because of this, I want what’s best for them. But that goes without saying, doesn’t it? Love is, after all, willing the good of another. Growing up, I was blessed to be on the receiving end of this fatherly love and never doubted that my father loved me and wanted me to be happy.
True fatherly love, however, goes beyond “wishing and hoping” that your children receive what’s best. It also involves doing what you can to make it happen. Not only do I desire what’s best for my daughters, but I will do whatever I can to bring it about.
As I was writing this post, my daughter Mary came to me with her malfunctioning DVD player and asked me if I could fix it. I’m not mechanical at all, but a quick Google search and a silent prayer did the trick. The player is working again, my daughter is happy, and I’m feeling pretty good about myself. Unfortunately, not every situation works out this nicely. There are times when my children present me with problems that I can’t fix. And, to be perfectly honest, it drives me crazy.
Love is, after all, willing the good of another.
Because I am human, I have my limitations and feel helpless at times. As a father, nothing frustrates me more than being unable to fix my children’s problems. Some things are just out of my control, however. Like you, I don’t have superhuman powers. When I run into these roadblocks, I have two choices: I can throw up my hands and begin to worry about how the situation might play out or I can reevaluate my options. Am I truly helpless or is there something else I can do?
I don’t care what type of crisis my child is facing, I am never completely helpless. All of my earthly resources may have been exhausted, but my dad’s bag of tricks is not empty. I may be their earthly father, but my daughters also have a Heavenly Father who has no limitations.
When my children encounter a problem that I can’t fix, it gives me the opportunity to turn to the One who can fix all problems. Like St. Paul, I can delight in my weakness and boldly proclaim: “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
My daughters also have a Heavenly Father who has no limitations.
Because God is all powerful, there are no roadblocks that can stop him from helping his children. I can turn to him with confidence, knowing that nothing is impossible for him. Furthermore, when I ask my Heavenly Father to help my children (and his children!), I can rest assured that he has their best interests at heart.
According to Jesus:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asks for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him?” (Matthew 7:7-11)
As hard as it is for me to accept, I don’t always know what’s best for my daughters. I can (and should) pray for wisdom and do what I think is best, but I can’t be absolutely certain that I am correct. When their Heavenly Father gets involved, however, all uncertainty vanishes.
As Jesus points out, God will never give us anything that is not good. And by “good,” Jesus means anything that will help us get to heaven. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but heavy crosses are often the greatest blessings. No father wants to see his children suffer, but sometimes God allows it. He always sees the big picture.
Our Heavenly Father loves us unconditionally. With him, there are no “ups and downs” or any degree of selfishness. He loves us the same if we are good or bad and there is nothing that we can do to make him love us any more or any less. Our Father loves us for who we are, not for what we do.
Our Heavenly Father loves us unconditionally.
As a very imperfect father who wants to become better, I definitely have my work cut out for me. With the help of my Father in heaven, however, I know I can make progress. I pray for the grace to accept my limitations and the willpower to fight against my impatience and selfishness.
Despite my weakness, I am comforted by the thought of a Heavenly Father who loves my children even more than I do. As we celebrate Father’s Day, I’m grateful that the Lord has trusted me to be a dad to two of his daughters. With the help of his grace, I will continue to do my best and trust him with the rest.
Happy Father’s Day!