This past Father's Day was a hard one for my husband. Because of the trials we are facing with one of our eight children, as well as the day to day struggles with the ones that are still at home, he sometimes wonders if he is a good enough father. He wonders if he is a good enough husband. He wonders if he is truly measuring up. He wonders if he is making a difference. He wonders if he is worthy. On that particular day, all these worries were weighing him down.
I pondered about what I could say to help lighten his heart. I know his worth and I know that I could not make it without him. I thought about writing him a letter for Father's Day to let him know how much I loved him and God loved him. I prayed for a moment, then it came to me. I should write him a little story. Once I began, the words just came. Today I would like to share this story/parable with you in the hopes that if you or someone you love is struggling, that it might help to lighten your heart and help you to more fully understand that we all have a purpose here, that God loves and knows us, and wants us to have joy. It is personalized, so just mentally change the name.
The Love Of A Father
Once upon a time, in a world far away, there lived a man who loved his family very much. He was a good man who always tried to do what was right. He and his family lived in a beautiful palace surrounded by lush green trees, spacious grounds, and immaculate courtyards. Their children were different in temperament and personalities, but they were completely obedient.
One day the man and his wife were summoned to appear before their father for their final interview before leaving for the new world..
“Son,” their father asked, “what is it that your heart desires most? Tell me and I will grant your wish.”
“Well,” the man answered, “I wish to have this woman as my wife forever. I want my family forever.”
The father quietly pondered on his son's wish.
“I will grant you your wish, son, but first you both need to know some things. The perfection you have here will not always be so. Your wife must face some personal trials that will lead her on a different path from yours for a while. She must suffer some things that will affect her emotionally and spiritually, thereby weakening her ability to feel the pull of your love.
“She will marry another and make poor choices again and again. She will be swallowed up in the depths of despair and sink further than even she can imagine.
“Then, one day, her inner light will fight to reach the surface once again. When that happens, her heart will hear yours. You will find her again and she will be yours. But with the joy of loving her will also come pain, for her own pain will forever run deep, and though your love will soothe the ache, it may never completely heal the hurts. Nevertheless, her heart will be completely and irrevocably yours.”
Their father paused, letting his words sink in. He looked at his son and noted that his expression had not changed.
“All of your children are completely obedient now, but that will change as well. Some will remain obedient, a few will even radiate with it, while others will bring you trials so sore that your heart will literally feel like it is being broken in two. You will experience unspeakable joy on some days, yet you will also have countless sleepless nights. Your heart will be filled with gratitude for the children who choose wisely, and unceasing prayers for the ones who stray away.”
He paused and placed a hand on his son's shoulder and looked into his eyes intently. “It will not be easy, son. Now that you know this, is this still your wish?”
The man pulled his eyes away from his father's and gazed into those of his wife's, seeing the tears in them and reading in them what she did not say. He put an arm around her waist and pulled her close to his side. Then he turned back to his father.
“I know it will be hard, Father,” he finally said, emotion in his voice. “But she is worth it, Father. She is worth everything. My family is worth everything.” He paused and smiled as a tear trailed down his cheek. “My wish has not changed.”
The father smiled and tears rose in his eyes. He held out his arms and embraced them both tightly, whispering, “Sean, my valiant son, I will see you and my precious daughter Jewel when you return.”