The last day for me at the community pool the summer before sixth grade – my mom had remarried and we were moving far away from where I’d lived since first grade, away from my grandmother and grandfather.
My grandfather picked me up that day. I saw him, elbows leaning on the fence, hands clasped, just waiting for me, watching. He didn’t call – just waited without hurry. Waited until I saw him as though he had all the time in the world to wait for his granddaughter – and didn’t begrudge me a moment.
When I saw him, though, I grabbed my things and flew to him. It was a long walk to the car, past all the families, all the kids – and I walked taller beside him, my hand tucked in his, with a confidence I didn’t feel until the moment I was beside him – a confidence because of the man I walked beside, who made me feel more important, more loved, more valued than I had five minutes before with all those kids where I felt like an outsider never fitting in. Beside him, I was an insider. He was a grandfather who made me worth waiting for without hurry.
That’s Father Privilege. Never underestimate the power of Father Privilege, not just in a child’s life, but in a child-grown-into-an-adult life. Our worth, our confidence is not in ourselves, our worth and confidence is found in The Father.
The privilege comes from the confidence of who God is and who we are to him, knowing we are divinely created and divinely cherished, that if one is lost, The Father will pursue the one, regardless of how far that one has strayed.
He loves each of us enough to shepherd us – individually, yes, even discipline when we do wrong. . . and then love us enough to lead us back home. He’s not a one-method-fits-all Father when it comes to love and discipline.
He will fight, protect, comfort each one of us exactly how we need it.
He filled each of us with good things, to do good things, to forgive all things, to walk like Him, talk like Him, and to reflect the face of Him.
It is the confidence of all this that is Father Privilege.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.”
~ Jeremiah 17:7
Our confidence, our worth – no it is not in ourselves – it is found in Him. That worth is so much more easily discovered, though, when the love of an earthly father is there to show us what love is, what it is to be valued for who we were designed to be.
If one doesn’t know the love of a father, how can they understand how a father loves at all? If they cannot understand that, how can they trust God as Father? We were designed to thrive in this Father-child relationship – we were designed for Father Privilege and the goodness it does for our souls.
I was the daughter of a walk-away father. People say that children of adoption carry a spirit of rejection within – and it colors their world, their relationships, how they respond to others and feel about themselves. Walk-away fathers have the same affect on their children.
Our earthly fathers are supposed to be a reflection of Yahweh’s love, Yahweh’s Fathering, allowing us to see the kind of God is by our the example reflected daily. Walk-away Fathers are no reflection of God at all.
Today, I’m remembering the grandfather who waited without hurry, held my hand, who showed me the face of God. Thank you God for fathers and grandfathers who reflect the love of God for their children and grandchildren to see.
“I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty” ~ 2 Corinthians 6:18.
My Father-In-Law taught all his 12 grandsons to call, “GrandFaaattttthhhheeeerrrr” when they were in a bind – like a cousins-wrestling bind, Mom’s-tickling-me bind, or some other silly frollicking silliness bind that happened at Nanny and Papaw’s house. Yeah – there was always a bunch of silliness going, whether it was the entire group or small gatherings. Yet, every one of those boys knew that Papaw would be there in a heartbeat if they needed him, in the silliest of circumstances or the hardest of hard circumstances and anything in between. They just needed to call out to him.
Father Privilege – Knowing that the one who loves you believes you are worth saving, worth fighting for, who always comes when you call out to him.
Thank you God, for this grandfather who taught his grandsons he would never forsake them, in a silly pinch or a serious hard moment.
“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
~ Exodus 14: 14.
On the 4th of July, each time my son went to set off fireworks, his son would run to hide behind Papaw, knowing he was safe, protected. While I watched, each time he ran to his Papaw, though he was fearful of the seeming terror chasing him, he ran smiling, laughing knowing All is Well, when you’re with Papaw.
He’d step behind him, peep around him, laughing, waiting, knowing he was O.K. Papaw looked down at him one time, said, lifting his arm out, “Look out from under my wing little birdie” – and Henry did.
I wish I could be like that, watching a scary challenge, but laughing, safe in the protection of my Father, knowing God’s standing between me and whatever is causing that fear, knowing someone he’s going to stop it before it can get to me.
Thank you God for showing me the best place to be, in a calm every day ordinary or in the middle of a scary challenge that feels like it’s chasing. Thank you Father for earthly fathers who didn’t walk away. Thank you for the confidence I find in You! Thank you for this family full of father’s who showed their sons how to reflect the face of God – and their son’s sons!
“Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,”
~ Psalm 1