In June, my nephew and family took part in the wedding of their firstborn. The wedding party consisted of only the immediate family of both bride and groom and no other guests. They would then hold open house receptions in a couple of places that had previously been home to the bride, groom or both.
The outdoor wedding was moved indoors at the last minute due to weather conditions but the receptions were outdoors as planned.
The family was properly excited, but such was the love of Dad for his daughter that he found it very difficult to “give away” his firstborn, and to know her name was changed. In effect, he was giving over her care and keeping to this fine young man whom he liked but really didn’t know very well.
Another father’s love surfaced last Sunday, when he handed me a form I needed signed regarding his daughter. She is 17 and going with me on a mission trip. In the event of sickness or injury, I need to be able to act “in loco parentis.”
Her dad explained he had only signed the form the night before, and it still was not notarized because he was having an extremely difficult time handing over the care of his daughter to anyone other than himself.
He is happy for her to have the opportunity, and had previously given permission for her to go, but when it came down to saying someone else could made a critical decision in his behalf for his most cherished person, that was another thing altogether!
The length, depth, and breadth of his love for his daughter touched me very deeply. I have taken many teens on mission trips. I have always required this type of “in loco parentis” form and, looking back, I’m sure other parents have felt the same way when they signed it. I just never had a Dad or Mom be so direct about it. It impressed me how much this Dad loves his daughter – enough to let her go though he knows he will be suffering the whole time she is gone!
Then, a couple of days ago, I was visiting with a doctor friend. I knew he had gone to Florida around college graduation time. Also knowing his son was to graduate in Florida, I assumed that was the reason for his trip, so I asked him about it.
He was happy to share. The very day after his graduation, his son began a new job in his exact field of study. No little pride showed through. Then he (Dad) had flown to Florida after that because his son was sick.
I jokingly commented that even though his son was now a college graduate and in a job of his liking, when he got sick, he still needed his doctor dad. “Well, he wasn’t really sick. He was in a new job, and his girlfriend broke up with him.”
He said they did a lot of things together, enjoyed the fellowship, and talked things through. “She reconsidered and everything is alright now.” He commented how they both treasured their father/son time which led to his being alright now. Again, a father’s love.
As much as any or all of these stories might speak to our hearts, that great love of a father for his child (firstborn, daughter or son) doesn’t hold a candle to the great love God our Father has for each and every one of us! Use the mental picture of a human father’s love for his child to form a picture of God’s love for us.
Consider the length, depth and breadth of God’s love for us. He gave not just His firstborn, but His ONLY beloved Son to die for us. Be thankful!
Reach Helen Guilford at firstname.lastname@example.org