This Father’s Day, my heart is compelled to reach out to you, the Fatherless, ones who have no male parent—not because of death but because of choices your fathers have made. You’re alone this Father’s Day because of abuse, because of neglect, because of abandonment. 

Fathers have a special power, don’t they? They have a power to impact our self-worth, our sense of identity, our ability to trust other people—even our romantic partners. And most importantly, they have an ability to influence our relationship with God, the One who calls Himself our Heavenly Father.

If we’ve experienced deep Father-wounds, our relationship with God is inevitably affected. The word “Father” becomes a fraught term, full of fickleness, pain, and danger. 

We might cry out to Him, asking, “Are You a good Father?” “What is a ‘good father’?” “Can I trust You?” “If You are good, how could You let this happen to me?” “If You are good, why haven’t You protected me?”

We may have experienced sexual abuse, emotional abuse (attacking our emotions), psychological abuse (attacking our sanity), physical abuse, financial abuse… the list feels endless because human capacity for evil knows no bounds. 

And yet, if we are Christians, we know (intellectually, at least) that there is a good God who says He loves us. He sent Jesus to die on the cross for us. Surely dying for us demonstrates His love, right?

And yet, we still often struggle with the idea of a loving Heavenly Father.

How can we reconcile this intellectual idea of love with the all-too-practical examples of heartache and danger that our earthly fathers have provided?

I don’t have many answers. In fact, I only really have one right now. 

During His time on earth, Jesus said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” [1]

In another place, He said, “No one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” [2]

And in still another place, in referring to Jesus, the Bible says, “This Word fully represents Creator and shows us who He is and what He is like….We looked upon His great beauty and saw how honourable He was, the kind of honour held only by this one Son who fully represents His Father—full of His great kindness and truth.” [3]

In other words, although we have trouble understanding other human beings—and especially God the Father, who is wholly ‘Other’ from us—there is one Person who helps us to cut through the confusion to see what God is really like. 

Jesus is the perfect expression of the Father’s heart towards His children.

When He tells the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15—of the father who did not force his will on his son; of the father who did not lash out in retribution; of the father who abandoned all thought of himself and waited quietly at the window, watching for his son’s return; of the father who hiked up his robe and ran with all his heart to embrace his son upon his return; of the father who joyously gave to the son out of the best of his stock? 

That’s our Heavenly Father’s heart for us. 

Where is selfishness? Where is manipulation? Where are lies? Where is destruction? Where is withholding of love? Where is abuse? Where is annihilation?

These things may exist in the human heart, but not in Jesus’. 

When we turn our eyes to Jesus, we turn our eyes to our Heavenly Father. 

If the term “Father” is too fraught for you right now, that’s okay. Your Heavenly Father will wait for you. Embrace His Son, Jesus, who reveals His heart. Who gave Himself up for you. Who has purchased your freedom from the evils of the past, and Who will lovingly and gently restore you—not to be as you were before. That ship has sailed. But He can make something new and beautiful for you—so stunning you may forget to breathe as your heart leaps with joy.

If you can’t trust the Father, trust Jesus. 

“A bruised reed he will not break,
   and a smouldering wick he will not quench” [4]

“Come to me,” Jesus says, “all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [5]


[1] John 14:9, ESV. 

[2] Luke 10:22, ESV.

[3] John 1:1, 14, First Nations Version.

[4] Matthew 12:20, Isaiah 42:3, ESV.

[5] Matthew 11:28-30, ESV.

(Picture source)