Hiking down the west face Cadillac trail in Acadia National Park, I grip the rock with my fingertips and try not to look over the drop off. Breathing deeply, I inch my way slowly across the rock, focusing on keeping my balance.
“Just stand up, Rach,” my dad calls me by my nickname, only a step behind even though I requested a five second space between us. This isn’t the first time his pointers have made me roll my eyes. Yet, I have found my parents to be right almost every time, if I just take the time to listen.
My dad has always been this way. A constant presence in my life to provide encouragement, humor, and love. He is 100% in everything he does and wants the same for his kids. He is always pointing me in the right direction, whether it’s across the faces of mountains or in everyday life.
He also has a knack for writing. Throughout high school I handed him paper after paper to edit for any errors. He would drop whatever he is doing to help me, every single time. He is one of the most generous people I know. He sacrifices summer afternoons to entertain my little brother’s unlimited energy, he wakes up before the sun to run with his friends so he can be home to greet my brother and I before we leave for school, he takes Sunday walks with my mom, and so much more. But to him, these aren’t sacrifices. He deems his selflessness as just wanting to spend time with us, and to remind us he will be there for us whenever and wherever.
I believe God is the same way with us. He promises to never forsake or abandon in Hebrews 13:5, a 24/7 commitment of His inseparable love and strength. He also proves His selflessness in giving up His only Son to overcome a dark world. He makes my crooked paths straight when I don’t know where to turn. When I give my stresses or praise to Him, He is willing to listen and provide me with peace. Like my dad, God wants to spend time with us just because. He wants to form a close relationship with us because He loves us.
Of course, I can’t forget my grandfathers. My mom’s dad is one of the hardest workers I know. He’s always joking with us, teaching us new things, and giving us advice from what he has learned over the years. He’s taught me how to never give up. My dad’s father is just as generous. I value the small conversations and warm hugs we share. It’s from him I learned how simple actions make a big difference.
Another fatherly figure in my life is my high school Young Life leader. He is a father and teacher. Even after I stepped out of his classroom when another year had ended, I would still show up to his classroom every once in a while. He was always there to listen. Any question I had would be answered, and any advice I sought out would be revealed. He took the time to get to know me, and all the kids that stepped through his door – whether it be for Young Life club, his classroom, or into his home for Campaigners.
His openness to people reminds me of God’s door in our lives, which is open to us no matter what. He is willing to give us all things because He cares. He is rooting for us, and is there to answer our questions. We just need to be brave enough to ask.
I’m so thankful for these fatherly figures God has put in my life. Through them I have discovered what a good father God is to me.
“You’re a good good father, it’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are, and I am loved by you. It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am.” ~ Chris Tomlin ‘Good Good Father’
Hebrews 13:5 | John 3:16 | Proverbs 3:6 | 1 John 5:14-15 | Romans 8:28 | Matthew 7:7