Yesterday was Father’s Day, as we all know. And many of us Dads received the usual selection of greetings cards to mark the occasion. There are all kinds of Father’s Day cards, some humorous, some more serious, some home-made and some costing far too much money. As the increasingly elderly father of four daughters I calculate that in total, over the years, I have received 178 Father’s Days cards – the first few from each daughter having been sent, of course, with significant help from their Mum.
So perhaps I can consider myself something of an expert on these cards. And I have noticed many of the same words cropping up more or less every year – words like greatest; king, superman, number one, rocking, and perhaps my favourite, hero. I suppose every little boy goes through the ‘my-dad’s-better/stronger/faster/taller/cleverer-than-your-dad’ syndrome, and perhaps that helps with our childhood insecurities. But I have always felt both delighted and at the same time a bit uncomfortable when these words are aimed in my direction. Of course, it’s wonderful to feel so loved by your family, and to continue receiving their hyperbolic expressions of emotion and appreciation, even when they are old enough to have kids of their own.
But the problem is this: I know myself well enough, and simply don’t have to dig very deep to see that in fact I am not superman, nor the greatest (anything), nor a hero, by any stretch of the imagination. There have been so many times that I have failed to live up to my daughters’ expectations, or hopes, or even to my own standards. That’s just a fact.
The amazing thing is that, now that they are old enough and mature enough to recognise that their Dad is actually far from perfect, they still keep telling him that he is. Somehow they find in themselves a willingness, even a strong desire, to overlook all the weaknesses, all the times I’ve let them down, and focus on the good times we’ve shared together. Because the truth is that we have a strong relationship; love does not require perfection, and it delights in turning a blind eye. My kids love me because I am their Dad, not because I’m the best Dad that God ever created.
And guess what? God loves you, not because you’ve got it all together, not because you’re better than anyone else at something, but because you are His son, or daughter. His word tells us that when we enter into relationship with Him, He chooses not to remember our sins (e.g. Is 43:25; Jer 31:34) – in fact in many ways God’s memory is much worse than mine. To Him, you are a hero. To Him, you are a superman, or wonderwoman. To God, you are infinitely special, because He made you a unique individual, known and loved by Him for ever.
Happy Heroes’ Day.