The Only Love That Never Fails (Earthly dads and our Heavenly Father)

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Sometimes my devotional for the day really cuts close to my heart; today’s word from Proverbs 31’s Lysa TerKeurst is especially true. Titled “The Only Love That Never Fails,” Lysa shares the wounds from her earthly father, and then digs into the struggles many of us have believing in a Heavenly Father who loves us because of these experiences.

My dad is a good man, a beloved teacher for 43 years at the local Christian High School, well respected in the community, hard worker and faithful provider for his family. As a child I had such a hard time relating to my father; we seemed nothing alike, and I struggled mightily to understand just who I was and where I fit in. I felt like such a disappointment, and deep down was convinced he didn’t love me. A dark shadow called “failure” was my constant companion, and as my teenage years went by the distance between us only seemed to grow.

By the time I was in my 20’s I was completely adrift, with no sense of direction or purpose. I blamed much of this on my dad and soon found my heart filled with bitterness and hatred towards him. The fears and doubts tied to my earthly father carried over to my Heavenly one as well - just like my biological dad I felt I could never measure up and be good enough for God. Unlike “everyone else” (whoever those imaginary people were!) I just couldn’t seem to overcome my secret sins and struggles; proof in my mind I really was a failure.

Lysa has struggled with many of the same things in her own life; maybe you have as well. I know when Christ entered my life again in 2004 one of the first things impressed upon my heart was grace, and the deep, abiding love he had for me despite the warts and bruises of life. Knowing Christ accepted me for who I was helped me in turn to forgive my father and accept him (and his love) for who he was, and this allowed healing and reconciliation to take place - something I thought for many years would never happen!

Of her own struggles Lysa shares this:

It’s been more than 25 years since I’ve seen my dad — by his choice. That’s hard on a girl’s heart. But God doesn’t want us to stay stuck in our places of blame and hurt. He wants to heal us and help us move forward.

Where my dad fell so short, God has filled in the gaps. Through His promises, I’ve been reassured of all those things I wished my earthly father would have said. I have learned that God's love for me is deep, unwavering and certain.

I feel much the same way - especially now that I myself am a father, and see first-hand the power I have to bestow blessing - or curse - on my children. Is your view of your Heavenly Father obscured by the sins of your earthly one? I hope these words from Lysa will be an encouragement - ...I do know that the only thing that will stop the desperation, the uncertainties, the insecurities … is for the Spirit of God to lay across our heart and make it still. The blanket of His presence and His protection is the only perfect fit for the deep creases and crevices carved inside us.