Her dad took off a long time ago. She still has days when she cries about it. But she also has something — Some One — else.
For most of my life, I have desperately wanted to have a loving relationship with a man I hardly know. I know he played the drums, liked the Steve Miller Band, and drove a jeep, but we have lived on opposite sides of the country since I was 2 years old. He wore an earring and had white blond hair. He took me to Disney World and Sea World when I was 13 and that was the last time I saw him. He is my biological father.
I used to dream of having an opportunity to sit in front of him and say, "All I have ever wanted was to know you, but you ran away. Why didn't you want me?" Sometimes I would have this imaginary conversation with him, tears streaming down my face, my fist pounding a pillow.
My least favorite day of the year was Father's Day. I remember crying to myself while other children made cards for their dads. Everywhere I turned I saw others with loving fathers. During elementary school programs, they flashed pictures and held camcorders while their children performed. On greeting-card commercials, they handed their beautiful daughters cards saying how much they loved them. Even sitcoms like The Cosby Show carried the theme of a loving committed father. I remember Dr. Huxtable dancing with his wife and cooking chili, blowing raspberries on the cheek of his youngest daughter, and being there for all his children. I tried to imagine having him for a dad, but all I had was a fantasy.
Growing up with my bio-dad's rejection has always been painful. But a few weeks ago, I was finally able to thank God for it and really mean it.
Since beginning a relationship with Christ, I had trouble applying James 1:2 to my family issues. "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds?" Joy? I could accept the loss, but I always wished that I hadn't experienced it, that I wasn't continuing to experience it. There was not a hint of rejoicing in that place. Mostly there was a lot of sorrow and anger.
I am rejoicing today because God is the only Father I have ever known. He reached through and gave me that joy. As Psalm 68:5 says, "A Father to the Fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." He has received me, although my father forsakes me (Psalm 27:10). I can call out to him, "You are my Father, my God, the Rock, My Savior" (Psalm 89:26). God the Father is a perfect father.
Our Father knows what we need before we ask Him (Matthew 6:8). In August of 1995, I broke my neck. I could not work at the grocery store where I worked before the accident, but I needed money to go back to school and for my upcoming wedding. I got on my knees and asked God to help me find a job that I would be able to do. I hadn't even said, "Amen," when the phone rang. It was a boutique in the mall calling to hire me. I left an application there before the accident, and they called at just the right time.
A few years later, I needed some new shoes. My shoes were falling apart, and I was embarrassed to wear them. I thought about praying for shoes, but the request seemed trivial. I was at a Bible study when another young woman asked if anyone could use some shoes. Her aunt gave her some shoes, and they didn't fit. I told her I needed some shoes, and she gave me two garbage bags full of shoes in my size. In both of these circumstances, God answered my prayer before I spoke a word. He knew the need before I spoke it.
God is also a compassionate Father. Psalm 103:13 reads, "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him." You can cry out to Him when you need His comfort, and he hears you. I feel his presence and his peace the most in moments of turmoil. It never ceases to amaze me that as much as I yearn for Him, He yearns for me more. My love is pitifully small when held up to his. In fact, the love I have for Him is there because He gave it to me.
My last desperate attempt to reclaim a relationship with my bio-dad was in December of 2001. After seven years of college, three children and a broken neck, I was finally graduating. I sent an announcement to him. I'm not sure what I was expecting. I hoped for a sappy, sentimental card that said, "I'm sure proud of you, kid. I'm sorry we haven't been in each other's lives, but I'd like to get to know you more."
The morning of graduation, I was giddy. I went to my early aerobics class and seemed to have limitless energy. During the class, sudden rays of sun warmed my neck. I glanced out the window to see a clear, blue sky. Blue skies don't happen often in the winter in Moscow, Idaho. Looking at this perfect day, I felt the tears start to fall. I imagined a greeting card with a sunrise pictured on the front. It did not compare to this day, this miracle, a graduation card from my Father. He poured his love into my life at a time when I needed a father to show compassion.
God is a Father who seeks you. "The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him" (2 Chronicles 16:9). This verse gives me strength when I feel a pity party coming on. Anyone can reject me, but if my heart remains fully committed to God, He is not only there for me; He is seeking me. Rejection from my dad made me feel undesirable and unwanted. Now I have a Father who seeks me out so He can strengthen me.
Nothing can replace God as a Father. Job 17:14-16 says, "If I say to corruption you are my father and to the worm my mother or my sister where then is my hope? Who can see any hope for me? Will it go down to the gates of death? Will we descend together into the dust?" The Hebrew word for corruption is sahat, used to describe a dungeon, a slime pit, or decay. Imagine someone jumping into an enormous pit of slime to find a father. That's what we do to ourselves when we turn to corruption for a father replacement. The sad thing is that many fatherless children do just this. Girls who grow up without fathers often turn to promiscuous sexual relationships and drugs. Boys turn to violence or other criminal behaviors. These "solutions" just create a greater void in that hole they attempt to fill.
I am confident that God will fill this hole in the lives of other fatherless children, if they will turn to Him. I don't need to tell those who are fatherless how painful it is to carry that rejection or loss. However, a greater love than the one lost is available and waiting for any who will receive it. There is joy in knowing that you have a father who wants to love you, and even greater joy when you realize that he has been waiting to love you your entire life.
Copyright 2002 Sara Eggers. All rights reserved..