There are so many areas of life a dad is responsible for. Providing for the financial needs of the family. Protecting from danger. Mowing the yard and taking out the trash and changing the hard to reach light bulbs and killing bugs. (obviously some areas are more glamorous than others) But there is no responsibility quite as heavy as being your child’s first picture of who God is.
When I think about my own dad, there are a few vivid memories that come to mind. We loved to watch the Cosby Show and Family Ties on Thursday nights together. Dad would always make popcorn, and put cheese salt on it. He would look around the kitchen and then almost without fail ask, “Do we need some ice cream?” As if the four kids were going to answer anything but “YES!” Then he’d run up the road to the 7-Eleven and come by with Bryers Mint Chocolate Chip as well as a 2-liter of Coke. (Coming back from the store with more than he went for was also a dad tradition) Another memory I always recall is “Sunday Morning Round Up” (this is my name for the memory) Every Sunday morning was the mad dash to get 4 women ready for church. I had a brother, but I literally have no recollection of seeing him on Sunday mornings. Perhaps he escaped to the garage or something. Anyway, dad was always an early riser and ready well before we were. So he’d start walking around asking if we needed anything “pressed” as well as taking orders for size and color of pantyhose we needed. Do not ask me why we needed new pantyhose almost every Sunday, but dad would iron all the girls’ stuff and run to the store to purchase them because the ones I had were either the wrong color or had a run in them. (side note- I do NOT miss pantyhose!) The other memory that comes to me often if I’m thinking about dad is him sitting up in the early morning reading his bible. He was always up before me, and if I got up on time I’d see him. Dad knew God’s word. He used it regularly in conversation with me. (Not surprisingly he would often quote the verse to me, “Where words are many, sin is not absent” from Proverbs, much to my annoyance at the time) Dad worked hard. A lot. I didn’t get to spend tons of time with him in my growing up years because he was the only working parent and put in long hours to provide for our family of six. I always knew that dad loved me though. Because when he wasn’t working he was with us. I knew my mom was the love of his life, and I knew our family was what he worked so hard for.
Looking back, I see many ways dad’s reflection of God was accurate. Oh sure, there were places he fell short. No one can perfectly mirror our Heavenly Father. But the lessons I learned about who God is from my father’s life were enough. I knew God was faithful, sacrificial and loving. I knew He cared about the details of my life. I knew He could be counted on and I knew his strength and wisdom was far beyond mine. I knew He delighted in giving good gifts. Good gifts like my daddy gave me. Good gifts like my dad himself.