The Dusty Road

There are many examples in Scripture of God’s love for those who did not return His love or for those who had known His love and then turned away. Sometimes He asked His prophets to demonstrate what He was trying to teach the people about His love.

Haggai was one of those prophets God used. He was married and then his wife became a prostitute. God asked him to find her and take her back as his wife, as an example of His love for Israel, even after she turned her back on Him.

So often we accept His love and salvation, become His beloved, and then we follow the allure of the world and, like Haggai’s wife, we prostitute ourselves. He doesn’t give up on us. He may come after us like the Shepherd looking for the lost or wandering sheep.

One familiar story that Jesus told about the prodigal son, always captures our imagination. He asked for his inheritance while his father was still alive and then went off and wasted it, in a far away land. We might wonder, how long it took him to realize that he had made some bad choices?

And what about the father, who never stopped looking down that dusty road, shading his eyes against the hot sun, longing to see his son coming. Patiently he waited and the day finally came when his waiting was rewarded. Away, in the distance he saw something. Could it be? Eagerly, he watches.

He sees someone, clad in scanty, dirty clothes, trudging wearily along the dusty road. The father runs, something out of character for a man of his stature. He runs toward him and embraces this unkempt child who smells like pigs.

The father disregards the appearance of his child, he is filled with love and joy for his return. The son returns in an attitude of humility. Gone is the pride, gone is the sense of entitlement. Now the words are, “Make me as one of your servants.”

The circle is complete, the same dusty road going away, leads home. Broken and wiser, the son is home. Jesus told this story about a son but it could just as easily be about a daughter. I’ve been on that dusty road. Coming home, I found the Father’s love and forgiveness.

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What Makes A Real Dad?

Is it a night when two become one,
An egg and a sperm make a babe and it’s done?
Is it the day when the couple is bringing,
The babe home with much joy and singing?

Does time make the dad as babe learns to talk,
Saying, ‘Mama’ and ‘Daddy’ and to outstretched arms walk?
When the child calls him, ‘Dad’ does that make him one?
Or maybe it’s when the man says he’s his son.

From all of these things we could surely construe,
That these make a dad that is loving and true.
I believe it’s not time, but a place in the heart,
A calling to give, the whole, not just a part

Of oneself, to the child in their care.
Unselfish love makes a dad that is rare.
He may not have given it life to begin,
But the life that he gives to the child is a win.

The importance of dad, we can not understate.
How the child is developed can’t be left up to fate,
For values are taught, both the good and the bad.
Best ones are taught by the wisdom of dad.

 

I have seen many kinds of dads in my day, some good and some not so good. My own dad was a verbally abusive alcoholic, whose own low sense of worth caused him to tell us regularly, we were no good. In contrast, my husband, Larry had a very caring father, who told his children, verbally and non verbally, they had value and worth. He was a godly man who loved his children and tried to be the best dad possible. As a result of his loving example, Larrys ideas of how to be a man were well formed.

Recently, I have contemplated this question, “What makes a real dad?” or “What makes a man a dad?” In pondering this question, I am comparing two men who have some connection to a member of my family. One man does not really want to be a dad but he has impregnated at least three women, in the past, leaving them to raise the child by themselves. He gives nothing to their care, no financial support or contact, after the child is born.

One of these children is my daughter’s litle boy. When this man ( using the term lightly,) knew she was pregnant, he wanted her to terminate the pregnancy. When she refused, he left, never saw her again nor the child when he was born. He has never given any kind of support, financially or otherwise. He has a another boy a few years older that he abandoned as well.

As it happened, shortly after this, my daughter met a man who loves her and wants to be a dad to her little boy. This man once knew what it was to anticipate the birth of his baby, only to have his hopes dashed when the baby died at birth. Along the way he tried to be a dad to another boy but was not allowed the privilege when the relationship with his mother failed.

He gives to my grandson, all that a child could ask for, with love and appropriate discipline. My grandson calls him, “daddy” and does not know any other. I’m watching and what I see is the heart of a dad. He’s not perfect and no parent is, but he has a desire to mold and shape his son, into what he believes a man should be.

Who is the real dad here? What makes a dad, really a dad? T’m convinced, it’s not the DNA or the genetics, it’s the heart’s desire.  It’s the motivation and the love that gives of themselves for the well being and the good of the chid in their care. That makes a real dad, truly Dad!