Today is a guest post written by my son Micah on Father’s Day. I hope you enjoy this personal reflection on his faith and his father. As always, thanks for reading!
Someone once told me that a person’s conception of God is shaped by who his or her father was during childhood. An authoritarian father paves the way for a legalistic view of God and His law. A father who protects prepares his children to trust their heavenly father, even when stepping out in faith. Perhaps an absent father makes one doubt that God exists at all, or that if He does, He’s definitely not a good God.
If I apply this basic, if not facile, theory to my upbringing, and I think of my dad as an analogue to my creator, then God is intelligent, talkative, proud of His children, forgets the lyrics to pop songs but sings them at the top of His lungs and, has a contagious sense of humor.
Intelligent? Judging from the architecture of the human mind, God, the creator, is definitely intelligent. And so is my dad. His ability to retain and interpret information is astounding. He goes to anew city, and within hours it seems he’s an expert. This dynamic occurs so often that I believe it’d be egregious if he chose not to become a tour guide when he eventually retires.
Talkative? God may seem silent, but through reading scripture, praying, and living in community with other Christians, I hear God talk a lot. Same with my dad. He’s definitely a talker. When you listen close, you stop hearing only the words that are coming out of his mouth, but also the psychology behind his talking. My dad is predisposed to make connections. When he meets a stranger, it takes no time at all for him to find some point of relation between the stranger’s life and his, and my dad can – and will – run with it. Rare is the moment when a conversation with him loses momentum. Usually it’s a matter of gaining momentum, so much so that we’re juggling five topics at once and I have to hang up the phone because my cellphone battery is about to die.
Proud of his children? I’m not sure if God is proud of me, per se, but He said that He was well-pleased with Jesus. Believing in the blood of Christ, I know that I’m covered with his cloak of righteousness, so, in a way, God is proud of me as His child. My earthly father is also proud of me. When I show him a new animation of mine, or tell him about a professor’s affirmation of my work ethic, or get married to a beautiful woman (as I did this past April), I can feel my dad’s pride emanating from each sentence. It warms my heart and mind, so much so that I sometimes look forward to finishing a project just so that I can send him an email about it and hear his encouraging feedback.
Forgetting lyrics? Here’s where the theory collapses. I’m not so sure that God forgets lyrics, so maybe that’s a flaw in my dad that will be exorcised in heaven. If you’ve ever heard James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful”, then you’re in for a treat to hear my dad’s rendition, which erroneously repeats the chorus and adds in words that I’ve never heard in any song before…. “you’re beautiful, tha’s fo’ sure (sho-ore)”
Sense of humor? God has a sense of humor, and to me it’s best manifest in His creation of the sloth. My dad’s sense of humor is much less subtle. My dad’s a trickster. I have memories of us going to friends’ homes at 9pm (past my bedtime at that age), hiding in the bushes, and scaring them through their kitchen windows, which always gave my dad a big kick. My dad’s a goofy dancer. At my wedding, my dad and my father-in-law did a dance-off to Rihanna’s “Umbrella”, and all the guests stood around falling over with laughter. My dad’s a comedic storyteller. He’s lived through so many absurd scenarios (partly by his own propensity) and the outcome is permutation after permutation of the same story, though milked for optimum humor. If some people tell stories in black and white, others in color, still others in 3D… my dad tells stories in the medium of virtual reality. I don’t like to admit it very often, but I know my sense of humor, my yearning to bring colorful energy into dull rooms, is from my mom and him.
Theory (accurate or not) aside, I know my dad is a true reflection of God and his son Jesus Christ. My dad is loving and compassionate, especially empathetic to the plight of the lost and the disenfranchised. He sees sports for the silly, childish games that they are, and I’m guessing God looks at ESPN that way, too. My dad longs to bridge cultures in a way that God longs to be a universal God to all of us, not just Americans or Westerners. All told, this Father’s Day I’m grateful that the title given to my dad (father) is such an apt reflection of my Heavenly Father. It’s made for a clear vision of who God is in all His power and mercy. I love my dad and I love God. Happy Father’s day!