Have you ever seen the movie "Kindergarten Cop?" It has to be, by far, one of my favorite movies. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a cop who goes undercover as a kindergarten teacher to find a suspect that poses a threat to the community and to specific family in the school. He realizes that he isn't quite cut out to work with small children and resorts to acting as a drill sergeant to get the kids under control. One of the activities he has the children participate in is a question and answer time where he asks them, "who is your daddy and what does he do?" Although it seems like a fun game to the kids, he uses the answers to get as much information about the children as possible so that he can ultimately track down the suspect.
As I was formulating this blog in my head, all I could hear was Arnold Schwarzenegger's voice asking me "who is your daddy and what does he do?" I think many of us are asking ourselves that question and have been for a long time.
I will never forget a moment in my life that occurred when I was about 16 years old. My best friend and I were hanging out, playing video games and having a good time until he looked at me and said, "I have to go." I asked him why he was leaving so soon. "My dad is taking me to a Mets game..." he replied. He got up and left as he and his dad drove off to Shea Stadium.
Now if you're reading this, I'm sure that you aren't feeling jealous of my friend's outing to go watch the Mets play since they're, well... the Mets. But it wasn't that he got to go to an MLB game that caused my eyes to swell and my heart to sink... no, the tears didn't come because of baseball, they came because HE had a dad that was actually around to take him to the game.
I sat on the floor of my room and just wept. And I'm not talking about the kind of crying you see in the movies... no this was what I call the "ugly cry." Snot poured out and horrific faces were made. I was truly devastated. I yelled out, "WHY DID I GET JIPPED? WHY WAS I THE ONE CHOSEN TO GROW UP WITHOUT A DAD?"
In frustration I laid down on the carpet and immediately, the Lord took me into a vision. I will never forget the vividness of that moment... it wasn't a dream and it wasn't in my imagination. It was if I had been transported into the past and I was standing in my room, the night I had found out about my father's passing. I remembered the loneliness I had felt that evening, but this time, something was different.
Someone else was in the room with me.
I looked over and I saw Him. He was standing there, weeping with me.
I couldn't believe my eyes. I remembered that night... I didn't see God there. What had changed?
From there, God took me to every moment of my life since I had lost my dad and revealed His presence. He showed me that He had been standing there the entire time. It was if he had taken a veil off my eyes and I could actually SEE Him with me.
After He took me through each moment where I thought I was alone and showed me that He was there, He grabbed my hands and looked me dead in the face and said, "every moment you though you were fatherless, I was there fathering you."
A recent conversation with a good friend of mine inspired me to write this blog because we live in a generation of fatherless orphans. So many of us grew up without dads. Many of us grew up with dads who were absent... emotionally or situationally. Even more of us grew up with dads who abused us and weren't real dads at all. We truly are an orphan generation.
At the end of the day, I have always wanted an earthly father to take responsibility for my life and lead me in my journey. Don't get me wrong, I have had a few men who have played a vital role in my life and have walked me through many seasons of trials and difficulties, but none of the breakthroughs in my life could be attributed to one man and I believe that there is a reason for that. Read what Jesus says:
"And do not call any man on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and He is in heaven."
So many of us in the Christian community desire a spiritual father or mother because we are looking for the validation that only a parent can give. We desire someone who will take ownership of our lives and provide for us. I have always said, the deepest fear of an orphan is that what they need to survive and thrive will not be provided for them.
The unfortunate reality that I have experienced is that God is jealous for me. Only He has been the consistent Father in my life and only He could get the glory for the open doors, the victories and the breakthroughs. You see, God is all about the underdog. He loves using the broken, the outcast and the misfit because it is in their inabilities and disqualifications that He proves His power. He doesn't need the best or the most able... He is the best and He is able. He can use anyone who is willing.
Once again, don't get me wrong - I believe in spiritual fathers. I know God has called me to be one to many... but I also know that fathers are meant to grow, train, raise up and send out. We must let go. It would be weird to see a 30 year old man sitting in his father's lap begging for a bedtime story because he refuses to go through the transition of maturity in his relationship with his dad.
If you are a son, God may send you someone who will walk with you for some time. They may father or mother you for a season, but don't put your hope in them. Don't be so quick to call someone a "spiritual father." And don't be upset when your season with them transitions. There is only ONE true Father... the consistent, constant Comforter.
And if you've been called to be a father... don't grasp on to what doesn't belong to you. Hold what God has given you with open hands. Be a good steward... don't be an orphan-father. Let go. Orphans hoard what has been given to them because they don't truly believe that there is enough. God doesn't define you as a father... remember, you are son before you're a father.
I was talking to my pastor today and he was telling me about how it felt for him to give his daughter away in marriage. He said that he had done so many weddings over the years, but now, standing at the altar, he had to answer THE question. He had asked this question to many fathers over the years, but now it was his turn to answer: "who gives this woman away?"
It stopped him in his tracks. He thought to himself, "Could any other man truly provide for my daughter better than I have? How can I, her 55 year old father, give my little girl away to a 22 year old kid? I don't want to let her go..."
In that moment, his responsibility as a father was no longer to protect and provide... his responsibility as a father was to propel his daughter into her destiny.
So he gave her away, like a good father... knowing that she never belonged to him in the first place and she wouldn't belong to this young man even now. She had a Father who preceded him before he ever even had her as a thought. And He would be faithful to complete the work He started in her.
So, who is your Daddy and what does He do?
"I will not leave you as orphans..."