Thursday, June 21, 2012

Be Amazed

“Look at the nations and watch and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told." -Habakkuk 1:5

Like so many others in our world today, I have wounds from my biological father. Deep emotional scars remind me of a fatherless past wrapped in loneliness and despair. When I was just a girl, after years of emotional abuse, my Dad chose to leave his post of fatherhood. Statistically, I am not suppose to have the life that I lead. Rather than being a happily married woman with a stable home and  three well adjusted children, my life should be a cautionary tale. But that was not my fate. Even before I knew how to pray, the LORD sheltered me with His presence. And as I strived to find my way, God's amazing love led me to a new life with the man I now call my husband.

My story is, unfortunately, not an exception in today's culture. Far too many of us have experienced hurt and pain as a result of actions by an broken earthly father. The LORD gives fathers a unique privilege in His divine plan for the family. It is a  father that initially points his children to God's love. It is a father who models servant leadership and sacrifice. It is a father who protects and provides for his family. To be sure, a good father is dangerous to the enemy and his schemes to destroy mankind. Therefore, the enemy spends considerable time attacking fathers and their children.

In my lifetime, the enemy's assault on fatherhood has been fairly successful. Statistics are sobering regarding the number of children growing up in our country without a father. To be sure, fathers today face tough challenges and must overcome many temptations and distractions if they are to fulfil their God given responsibilities to their families. Unfortunately, many fail and leave it all behind. Consequently, their children are left exposed to the vicious lies of the enemy. Lies designed to act as venom to a young spirit. "You are unlovable. Unwanted. A burden." All are wicked lies straight from the depths of Hell. Truth, found in the scriptures, tells us that God is a Father to the fatherless. (Psalm 68:5). Even in our most difficult circumstances, we have a Heavenly Father who calls us His (Romans 8:17) and promises to never forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)

Where man fails, God prevails. That is especially true in regards to God's children. As a girl, I would quietly sit and dream about the man with whom I would one day start a family. Loving. Trustworthy. Gentle. Protective. Tender. Good. A man with whom our home could be a sanctuary. The qualities I sought for the father of my children were not that extraordinary, but I secretly wondered if anyone could possibly possess them all.  For almost twenty years, I have had the awesome privilege of sharing my life with a man among men.  Because God did something new in my life, I have the love of an honorable man and my children have a wonderful father.

Still, at times, I feel a bit sad that the man God chose to be my biological Dad simply threw away his opportunity to be part of my life. I bear my father no ill will. I understand that he made his choices with the emotional skills that he had at the time. Long ago, I made the decision to forgive him for the pain his shortcomings caused in my life. After all, faith and unforgiveness cannot dwell in the same heart. Still, Father's Day is a bit bittersweet, as part of me grieves for the father/daughter relationship that will never be.

This past Sunday, on Father's Day, that all changed. In a single unexpected moment, God turned a day of loss into one of gain. Our pastor asked the men in our congregation to stand if they were prepared to "man up" and lead their families with God fearing strength, integrity, and character. My sweet husband was one of the first to stand. That was no surprise to me, for that is exactly the man I know him to be. However, I did not expect my fourteen year old son to stand almost as quickly.

For the rest of my days, I will remember the glorious sound of my husband and teenage son pledging in unison to lead their families with God given courage and faith. Truly, the desperate prayer uttered long ago by a broken and desperate little girl received a double blessing.The LORD,  in His goodness, placed not just one godly man in my midst, but TWO! As a girl, I prayed for God to change my father's heart. When things only got worse, I cried, "How long,  O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?" (Habakkuk 1:2) But things were not as they appeared. Like every good Father, the LORD refused to give me anything less than His very best.

In that sanctuary on Father's Day, my heart heard God whisper, "I answered your prayers, dear child. Out of the ashes and ruin you gave me, I made something new and it's all for you. It's my best for you."  HIS best. It's more glorious than anything I could have imagined for myself when I was a child. Never before have I been more amazed by my Heavenly Father's great love for me.

Today, in whatever challenges you are facing, be mindful of whose you are. Remember that you are a child of God and that He is for you. He has not forgotten you or His plans for your life. Sit in His presence. Give Him your heart. Take in His love and acceptance and believe it is unconditional. Trust in His care and provision. And know, in His perfect timing, the LORD will do something truly amazing simply because He is God and you belong to Him. Draw near to your Heavenly Father, dear one, and be amazed.

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