While I was growing up and continuing to this day whenever my daddy prays, he begins with the words, “Father, thank you for loving us...”
It took my becoming an adult to realize how often he repeated these words, and even longer to understand what a miraculous thing it was for my dad to not only pray but believe this truth! You see, my dad never truly experienced love from his earthly father. He never knew what it was like to have his dad want to spend time with him or to be proud of his accomplishments. He has confessed that growing up his greatest desire was to know and experience the love of his father.
Who knows why my grandfather did not, or maybe could not, show my dad the love that he craved. Perhaps it was modeled to him that it was weakness to love. Or maybe it was because he did not recognize that he had received love himself. But I do know that many who have grown up feeling unloved become men or women who neither recognize that they are loved, nor know how to give love to others.
So you see that it is a miracle that today my dad’s every prayer is an acknowledgement of the Lord’s unconditional and unqualified love for him.
And perhaps the greater miracle is that he has always made a point to let me and my siblings know just how much he loves us.
I remember my dad, who is also a pastor, preaching a sermon when I was a teenager. He had sought the Lord for a new revelation and specifically asked the Lord what was the one thing that He wished His children knew about Him.
God gently returned the question, “What is the one thing you want your children to know about you?”
My dad answered immediately, “I want my children to know that I love them, all the time, no matter what!”
And the Lord responded, “That is what I want My children to know about Me, as well!”
I John 3:1 ”Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!”
There have been times in my life that I have doubted what my future holds and how long it would last; when I have doubted the Lord’s plans for me and whether I have the ability to fulfill them; when I have doubted my own strength and faith. But I have never doubted The Lord's love for me. This is the greatest gift my earthly father has ever given me - the gift of the knowledge of the greatest gift my heavenly Father has given me - His love.
And my father's second greatest gift is the gift of his own unqualified love for me. I love you, Daddy!