Healing the Wounds Left by a Father
Someone made a comment on my post Fear of God – Beginning of Wisdom about how though I was blessed with a wonderful earthly father, many aren’t. I was asked to address those who haven’t been so fortunate. I don’t necessary think I’m most qualified to address such an issue, but I wanted to honor the request and share with you want I have learned from my friends who have had issues with their fathers. I was thankful for the suggestion because many of my friends fall into the latter category. In fact, this past week as I was visiting my family many conversations came up about the impact of fathers. We talked about the effects of no fathers, fathers who neglected, over protected, who loved. Here are my thoughts . . .
Unfortunately, many men have done a poor job as a father. Like the rest of us they are fallen and far from perfect. But the role they have has such an impact in our lives that their actions effect us more than most. Fatherhood is a great responsibility. It’s a job that reveals a man’s greatest weaknesses and to those he is supposed to love the most. As a result of those weaknesses, some have abandoned, neglected, abused, and overly controlled their children. Among my friends those who didn’t have a good experience with their fathers instead had with a relationship of lack that left them with deep wounds, anger, pain, disoriented paths, and vast voids in their lives.
So if the experience with your father left a huge void or vaults of pain in your life, how can you draw near to a God who says He is your father? How do you know really what that truly means? How can you trust God to be your father, when your only experience of a father was none at all or crappy?
Initially how we view God is related to how we viewed our father. We carry over the framework given to us from our father to God. But this obviously isn’t where we are to stay mentally or emotionally – whether our experience was good or bad – we each need to seek God as He is and if we do He will teach us and show us who He is. He is able to give us what we never had in our earthly relationships, if we seek. John 14:21
Talking to one of my friends about her experience with her dad, she said, it’s true he left a big hole in my soul, but it provided a larger place for God to fill. Because of that lack it pushed me closer to God seeking from Him what I didn’t get from my dad. I have been blessed to know and depend on God in this way.
This is the treasure in broken relationships; God comes into the brokenness in such intimate way. Wounded souls gain a special relationship that is nourishing and rich with God because of the lack they had. They deeply connect with Him in a way they otherwise wouldn’t.
Often it’s the void, in whatever area of our lives that drives us to seek God with passion with our hearts, souls and minds. The wound, the pain, and the emptiness are powerful drivers. God uses these driving forces to turn something deeply painful into something amazingly blessed. Our fathers have a big impact in our lives, how much more our heavenly Father if we let Him in into the depths of our pain and sorrow? It’s about perspective. We can either see our past experiences as a never ending wound in our lives or we can see it as an opportunity to experience the presence of God in a very intimate and personal way. Where do you want to be? Which one are you fostering in your life?
Our earthly fathers, whether good or bad, are to point and drive us to our heavenly Father.
A mistake often made is getting caught up in looking to our earthly fathers to repair the damage they left behind. We aren’t to look to them but God. God is our eternal Father; our earthly fathers are but a vapor Psalm 39:5. We need to be careful not to put too much focus on the temporary because then we neglect the eternal. We are to seek God to complete and fill us, to heal and restore us. As for our earthly fathers we have to abandon the hold they have on us, or we will remain living out our lives in a reaction to theirs. We are called to live in the spirit in the newness of life, not the past. With God’s grace we can. Only God can truly enable us to move forward. Though, I haven’t had to do with my father, I have in other areas. Freedom comes from Him, and He is able to set us free from whatever binds our souls. As long as we look to our earthly fathers to play a part in delivering us from the pain we are looking in the wrong place and often will be greatly disappointed.
You can’t wait on them to change, to apologize, to make good for the damage they did. Because many never will due to blindness to their own lack. The truth is we are fallen. We cause others pain. We damage with our actions and our words. We all fall short. God is offering freedom from that bondage of pain caused by others. It is a process no doubt especially with our fathers, but is a journey that in the end will fill you with gratitude for the earthly father you had because of what it brought to you in your relationship with God. It may be hard to believe, but God loves you more than you know. He wants to give you what you never had if you will open yourself up to Him. He wants to go into the reservoir of that pain and abide, and turn it into rivers of love.
Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.
Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
If you are God’s, you have a new Father, embrace Him.