With Father’s Day upon us once again, my thoughts went to a friend who recently lost her dad, whom she loved very much. I lost my own dad over 25 years ago and miss him being in my life all of those years. But not everyone has close ties with and fond memories of their father. Some people grow up never even knowing or having much of a relationship with their dad, which is heartbreaking. Regardless of what your relationship to your own dad has been like, we can all agree that no father is perfect; every earthly dad has his flaws and makes his share of mistakes, albeit some more than others.
However God is a perfect, holy, loving Father to His children, and He has promised to be a Father to the fatherless. The question is – who are His children? Is every person in fact a child of God? No matter who are you are – He is your God and He is your Creator, whether you acknowledge Him as such or not. Many like to think of God as being their Father without really knowing much about Him or spending time with Him. God is not whatever you want or think Him to be. He is who He has declared Himself to be, and He has revealed Himself to us in His Word, the Bible, and through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
So let me to ask you to consider: Who is your Father? Seems like a fitting time to reshare some thoughts on the book by this same title that I reviewed a few years ago.
“What is neglected by most Christians today is the comforting, awe-inspiring truth of our God’s sovereignty, his great love for each of us, and the eminent trustworthiness of his eternal purpose, which includes each of us in infinite detail. This negligence robs us of our real joy and comfort in our Father who loves us, chooses us, redeems us, and perfects us.” “A ‘god’ whose will is resisted, whose designs are frustrated, whose purpose is checkmated, possesses no title to Deity, and so far from being a fit object of worship, merits naught but contempt.” (A. W. Pink, The Attributes of God)
Last year I was contacted by the author of Who’s Your Father?Robert Bernecker, who asked me if I’d read and review his book, which he had recently published. He was…
“I take simple everyday things that happen to me and I figure it happens to a lot of other people and I make simple rhymes out of them.” – Edgar Guest
In honor of Father’s Day weekend, I thought I’d just bring you something from one of my favorite poets, Edgar Guest (1881-1959). Guest was born in England, but his family moved to Michigan when he was ten years old. At age 13 he started out his career as a newspaper office boy for the Detroit FreePress, where he would work for the next 60 years. When he was 17, his father passed away, and he had to drop out of school to work full-time. He became a reporter, and by 1904 he had his own column which he called “Chaff.” From 1931-1942 he had a weekly radio program.
Edgar Guest’s first collection of poems, Home Rhymes, was published in 1909, the first of more than 20 collections of poetry to be published during his lifetime. Guest wrote about things of everyday life that everyone could relate to such as family, patriotism, work, faith, friendship, nature, and holidays, and he became known as “the poet of the people.” Guest’s poems are at the same time warm and sentimental, humorous, and inspiring. Yes, they are a bit “old-fashioned” both in language and theme, but Edgar Guest wrote in a time when men were the “bread winners” and did anything they had to in order to provide for their family. Values like integrity, perseverance, courage, and hard work come through in his poetry. Some of my favorite poems by Guest are “True Nobility”, “Can’t”, “Faith”, and “Results and Roses.”
Even though Guest lost his dad when he was just 17, his verses about fathers seem to reveal that he had a wonderful relationship with him, and if they are any indication, I’ll bet Edgar was a great dad himself. I lost my own dad more than 20 years ago, and my father-in-law six years ago, and I greatly miss their presence in my life and that of my kids. But this Father’s Day is special because it’s my son’s first one as a father.
My dad and me on my wedding day, 1986
My husband and his dad, 1979
My son and his firstborn son, 2014
Now maybe you don’t have the kind of relationship with or memories of your father that you wish you had; maybe there’s nothing you can do about that. But consider how you might be able to encourage the young men in your life to be the kind of dad that every child needs and deserves – the kind of dad these poems describe. So here are a few poems by Edgar Guest that I found to be particularly appropriate this week and brought a smile to my face as I read them. I hope you will enjoy reading them as well, and maybe you can share them with your dad or a special father that you know. Or sit down as a family and read them together with your kids.
Only a Dad (1916)
Only a dad with a tired face, Coming home from the daily race, Bringing little of gold or fame To show how well he has played the game; But glad in his heart that his own rejoice To see him come and to hear his voice.
Only a dad with a brood of four, One of ten million men or more Plodding along in the daily strife, Bearing the whips and the scorns of life, With never a whimper of pain or hate, For the sake of those who at home await.
Only a dad, neither rich nor proud, Merely one of the surging crowd, Toiling, striving from day to day, Facing whatever may come his way, Silent whenever the harsh condemn, And bearing it all for the love of them.
Only a dad but he gives his all, To smooth the way for his children small, Doing with courage stern and grim The deeds that his father did for him. This is the line that for him I pen: Only a dad, but the best of men.
I found this next one to be so funny, and oh, so true in many families! Does anyone know a dad like this one?
My father knows the proper way The nation should be run; He tells us children every day Just what should now be done. He knows the way to fix the trusts, He has a simple plan; But if the furnace needs repairs, We have to hire a man.
My father, in a day or two Could land big thieves in jail; There’s nothing that he cannot do, He knows no word like “fail.” “Our confidence” he would restore, Of that there is no doubt; But if there is a chair to mend, We have to send it out.
All public questions that arise, He settles on the spot; He waits not till the tumult dies, But grabs it while it’s hot. In matters of finance he can Tell Congress what to do; But, O, he finds it hard to meet His bills as they fall due.
It almost makes him sick to read The things law-makers say; Why, father’s just the man they need, He never goes astray. All wars he’d very quickly end, As fast as I can write it; But when a neighbor starts a fuss, ‘Tis mother has to fight it.
In conversation father can Do many wondrous things; He’s built upon a wiser plan Than presidents or kings. He knows the ins and outs of each And every deep transaction; We look to him for theories, But look to ma for action.
I’m thankful for my husband who over the years spent time with our kids — taking them camping, rock-climbing, hiking, shooting and hunting. This next poem gives us a little glimpse into the relationship young Edgar may have had with his father and how he wishes he had him for a longer time.
A Boy and His Dad (1921)
A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip— There is a glorious fellowship! Father and son and the open sky And the white clouds lazily drifting by, And the laughing stream as it runs along With the clicking reel like a martial song, And the father teaching the youngster gay How to land a fish in the sportsman’s way.
I fancy I hear them talking there In an open boat, and the speech is fair. And the boy is learning the ways of men From the finest man in his youthful ken. Kings, to the youngster, cannot compare With the gentle father who’s with him there. And the greatest mind of the human race Not for one minute could take his place.
Which is happier, man or boy? The soul of the father is steeped in joy, For he’s finding out, to his heart’s delight, That his son is fit for the future fight. He is learning the glorious depths of him, And the thoughts he thinks and his every whim; And he shall discover, when night comes on, How close he has grown to his little son.
A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip— Builders of life’s companionship! Oh, I envy them, as I see them there Under the sky in the open air, For out of the old, old long-ago Come the summer days that I used to know, When I learned life’s truths from my father’s lips As I shared the joy of his fishing-trips.
Here are a few more wonderful poems about family life that are a great read:
So if you’re a dad or an expectant dad, Happy Father’s Day! And if you have a dad who’s still living, why not give him a call, send him a note, or spend some time with him this weekend. Most of all, if you’re a child of God, thank the Lord today for being your Heavenly Father!