I was in trouble. It was my junior year at a small Baptist college, and I’d made a bad choice. It was enough to cause the dean of students to insist that I make a phone call to my parents.
For some college students, this might have been an everyday thing. But for me, it was a monumental first. I mean, I wasn’t perfect, but I had never been in trouble like this.
Growing up, I wasn’t a rebellious child. I took my parents’ punishments seriously. My dad, being the Southerner that he is, was an intimidating enforcer. He’s a gruff man with a farmer’s tan. He works long, hard hours in the Arkansas heat. He fixes things with his hands. He drives a loud, diesel truck. He eats steak. And he doesn’t say too much unless it’s funny or informative. Here’s a visual:
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So that day in the dean’s office, I wasn’t sure how to feel when I realized it was my dad who would be answering the phone. My mom, who I usually confided in and confessed to, was out of the country.
“Dad, I have to tell you something,” I said when he answered. “What is it?” his gritty voice asked, calm and steady. “Well …” I paused and started to cry. “I don’t want to tell you. I’m afraid you’re going to be mad or disappointed in me.”
Before I could go on, my dad responded with one of the most memorable things he has ever said to me: “Well, that’s what I’m here for–to tell the good stuff and the bad stuff.”
I wasn’t expecting that. My dad put me so at ease that it didn’t matter what I had done or what my punishment might be. I knew in that moment that my dad loves me no matter what. He is dependable in good times and bad. And that got me thinking. If my earthly father is this generous and merciful, how much more is my heavenly Father?
Maybe your dad has also been a great example of God’s love for you; maybe he hasn’t. Either way, I hope this weekend as you celebrate Father’s Day with the dads in your life, you will embrace the many ways the Father loves you.
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