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So You Had a Bad Dad

I can imagine some who read my annual Father’s Day posts on social media may feel slighted in the Daddy-hood department. Of course you have a healthy view of God, Faith. You had a wonderful dad. You’d be right; I did, and that contributed enormously to my understanding of who God is.

But my dad can’t say the same thing about his dad. After my dad’s mother died of leukemia when he was eighteen, my grandfather continued ministering as a traveling evangelist, leaving Dad to parent his four younger siblings on his own.

That was the making of an angry atheist… and eventually an angry dad for me.

I was too little to understand what was behind Dad’s rage during those years. I was unaware of the depression, and dark fantasies about suicide. I just knew that eventually Dad made a discovery that changed him from the inside out, and turned him into the dad I needed. And into a man who is making a huge impact among central Florida inmates, pointing them to the same discovery he made.

The discovery Dad made was that His Heavenly Father was a much better father than his earthly father.

Sometimes you have to unravel everything you’ve heard, believed and been shown about God from Who God actually is. Your view of God does not have to be defined by your view of man.

My dad got desperate enough to let God finally speak for Himself.

Ironically, it was the fervent prayers of his own father that led to my dad’s conversion. God tends to use imperfect people to accomplish his work. (My fond memories of Grandpa are filled with foot massages, stories, shoulder-rides in Clearlake, and guitar strumming with songs sung in German… “Jesus klopfte, klopfte mein herz….”)

Here’s to those who had bad dads or no dad… and here’s to fathers trying hard to get it right after having precious little to learn from. There’s a perfect Father close by, more than willing to show you how it’s done. To love you into becoming the good dad you want to be.


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