My oldest son departed yesterday for his senior retreat out at Lake Pleasant. He and about a hundred other classmates will be pondering over faith matters, spiritual concepts and letters from family members that have been kept secret until this weekend. I hope it will be a time of great insight, gratitude and love for them. I held back a little with our boy. You see, he's really struggling with his faith right now. I would have sent the below letter but he would have dismissed it as "there she goes again...just going on another God rant." I love him for his honesty. What he doesn't know is that I, too have doubted God's love, existence, motive at various places along the journey. There have been moments that have bled into days and weeks and months where I thought the whole concept of God was utter nonsense. I had to struggle through it. They were not easy, graceful or an impressive chapters. But they were probably the most insightful in retrospect and provided a glimpse of how it's easy to be fooled into the world's ways of thinking.
I've always been drawn to the life and writings of St. Augustine but only recently has his mother, St. Monica joined my enclave (Saints of Endurance--previous post). Somebody once told me that we don't find saints--they find us. I believe this to be true. At one point, Monica got so ticked off at Augustine for joining up with a weird gang (The Manicheans) that she kicked him out of the house. Monica was later consoled by her bishop..."the child of those tears shall never perish". Monica kept a quiet, prayerful vigil for her son..for 17 long years. I'm sure there were times she felt unheard, doubtful and impatient...as though God were not even there. The fact of the matter is, He is there. He does hear. He longs for us to come home to Him.
So I will keep the oil in my lamp even though the road gets hard and darkness casts a pointless shadow. And when the time for listening arrives, perhaps a few decades from now, I'll give this letter to my son....
You may not know me,
but I know everything about you.
I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
I am familiar with all your ways.
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
For you were made in my image.
In me you live and move and have your being.
For you are my offspring.
I knew you even before you were conceived.
I chose you when I planned creation.
You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book.
I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
I knit you together in your mother's womb.
And brought you forth on the day you were born.
I have been misrepresented
by those who don't know me.
I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love.
1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father.
1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
For I am the perfect father.
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Because I love you with an everlasting love.
My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.
And I rejoice over you with singing.
I will never stop doing good to you.
For you are my treasured possession.
I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul.
And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me.
Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart.
For it is I who gave you those desires.
I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine.
For I am your greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you.
As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart.
One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes.
And I'll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.
I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
He is the exact representation of my being.
He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you.
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you.
1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love.
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me.
1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.
Come home and I'll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.
I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.
My question is…
Will you be my child?
I am waiting for you.
Love, Your Dad
Father's Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications Copyright 1999-2010 www.FathersLoveLetter.com