Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: fathers (06/06/05)
TITLE: A Father to be Feared
By Delores Baber
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Fathers, they come in all shapes and sizes, ages too. Some have raised children who respect and admire them, others have lived in less than desirable circumstances and their father was someone to fear, especially when he came home drunk. Some children dreaded the approach of their father to their bed at night. Some have fathers they have never seen and have no contact with. On a spectrum of 0 – 10, zero represended the worst and ten the ideal Dad everyone wished they had.
Becky grew up in fear of her father. Often the punishments he gave her seemed to have no reason. On the spectrum her father might have been a five on a good day, but a zero on his bad days. Since Becky never knew which face he would wear when he arrived home she learned a few coping skills. 1. Avoid eye contact. 2. Try to make yourself invisible. 3. Do nothing to call attention to yourself. 4. Always say “Yes Sir” and smile.
One day her younger brother had broken a lamp in the living room. He saw their Daddy’s car pulling up and ran to hide. Becky, still staring down at the lamp made the mistake of being the only one present in the room when “HE” came in. One look at the lamp and his daughter and that was all it took. She instantly felt the sting and shame of his backward hand slapping her in the face. The tears burst from her eyes as she was struck again, “Didn’t I tell you never to cry. You got what you deserved !”
Later while in her room she overheard her mother explain that she was not the one who had broken the lamp. Becky thought, "He’ll come to me and apologize." He entered the room, staring down at her. She took courage in the fact that he knew she was innocent. But the words she heard had a devastating effect on her.
“Your mother tells me you were not the one who broke the lamp. I suppose you are expecting an apology from me. Well I never apologize. Just take the punishment I gave you and apply it to something bad you’ve done that you didn’t get caught at.” Then he turned and left.
Something inside her began to harden. A person who would not apologize when he knew he was wrong was a small person. He had diminished himself in her eyes and her heart grew cold.
As the years passed she became a young woman no longer living under his roof. But the scars were still impacting her view of men in general. She began seeing a Christian counselor and became curious. Something was different in this man. He seemed kind. He seemed to listen and never yelled at her. One day he asked her to write out all the passages in the Bible that described God as she saw Him. She worked hard all week to give him a thorough account.
She returned for her next session with page after page about God. He was a consuming fire. He often displayed his anger at his people and punished them harshly. He was awesome and fearful! His anger was easily kindled. He hates sin and she knew she was a sinner. In time she began to see that her view of God was just a giant version of the way she had seen her earthly father. She feared Him. Who knew when she might say or do something that might “kindle His anger” towards her?
Meanwhile her therapist modeled a Christ-like love before her in each session. This puzzled her. It was as though she had discovered some very important pieces to the puzzle that had, up to now escaped her. But what did it all mean?
One day while reading the scriptures a passage jumped out at her. “…what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" Matthew 7:9-11 and then “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32
She cried out in amazed wonder, “Father, I never knew You loved me until this moment!!”
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