I loved my Dad. In a few weeks time he will have been dead for ten years. And I can’t wait to see him again. He will be VERY surprised by the direction my life has taken, by the man that I now am, and by the perfect fathering that I have received from my Father God. And he would be so glad that this heavenly, spiritual fathering has helped me to start to fulfill my God-given potential.

My earthly Father would be the first to admit that he wasn’t 100% perfect – as a man, Dad, husband or human. But he was a good man, a good Dad and I admire(d) and respect(ed) him. In many ways I will never be half the father that he was to me to my own children and the knowledge of that hangs heavy on my heart. I can only try to get as close as possible to the standards that he set in the time that I have left.

My Mum and Dad were married for 35 years till he died. Through all of my childhood my Dad was ever-present. Here’s a statistic that will shock you and should horrify you: in the British Afro-Caribbean population 65% of children live in a single-parent (usually Father-less) family. The figures in the white British population are better but not much.  This is heart-breaking. I don’t subscribe to the Daily Mail opinion that all chidren from single parent families are doomed to fail. However it is true that the chances of lives of failure, addiction, abuse and criminality are startlingly higher in children from homes without two parents.

Despite his best efforts, when my Dad died I was still an alcoholic, still a serial adulterer, still a self-centred narcissist, and still a poor excuse for a Dad myself. Ten years later, by the grace of God, through a relationship with Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit…….I am sober, incredibly happily married and committed to my Hildah for the rest of my life, a far better Father and a channel through which God is bringing hope to families, children and villages in Africa. A new creation by any measure. (I am still a long, long, long way from perfect!)

My positive experience of human fathering didn’t put me on the right tracks. Many British children’s complete lack of any positive experience from their earthly Dads often leaves them either ill equipped or scarred by their experiences. What hope is there for them?

The same hope that there was for me. That one day they will realise that their Creator God has a Father’s heart. That they will let him love them, heal them and guide them into the lives that He longs for them to live – to the ‘life in all its fullness’ that Jesus promised. We sing this song in church sometimes –

You have loved me with such a perfect love, Fathered me with such a tender touch.

Your faithfulness surrounds my soul, Your mercy lifts my head. How could I repay all You have done?

Father me, faithful Father. Father me; No one else could ever be The perfect Father God to me.

No-one else, not even my wonderful Dad, could ever be the perfect Father to me or any of us. In ‘The Shack’ the main character says angrily to God, who happens to be presenting himself as an African woman at the time, ‘Why in the bible are you always a man, a Father?’ And God says, ‘Because on earth there is such a huge need for Fathers’.

Got a point hasn’t he? And he also has a heart for those who unlike me didn’t/don’t have a human Dad around. ‘Father them, faithful Father, father them.’ Please let them allow you to Lord.