Some men go through life without having children, and some have only boys. In both cases, they’ve been spared one of life’s more difficult moments. They’ll never have to “give away” a daughter on her wedding day.
Little girls idolize their daddies. That’s the way it should be, since Daddy is their first reference for what God is like. In a best-case scenario, fathers evidence God-like characteristics toward their daughters: patience, kindness, love, goodness. If a daughter grows up in a relationship with this kind of daddy, it’s twice as easy for her to later relate to God as her loving heavenly Father.
Most fathers are fiercely protective of their daughters. Heaven help the person who intentionally harms them! This is what’s behind a father’s mistrust of boys who come calling during the dating years. Fathers see themselves as earth’s best security force for their little girls, no matter how big they get.
Then comes the greatest of all fatherly challenges, a daughter’s wedding day. Even if a man approves of his potential son-in-law, that walk down a church aisle to place his daughter’s hand in that of a young man can weaken even the strongest dad.
I remember my own wedding walk down the long aisle of Moody Church. Clutching my dad’s arm gave me a sense of security, and I knew if I got wobbly, he’d stabilize me. But what was he thinking? I never asked.
I did ask Nate, though, about his similar experience. He walked our Linnea down the aisle wearing an expression that said, “This is hard!” When we talked about it later, he said, “It was much harder than I thought it would be.”
And that’s the way it is for fathers who love their daughters.
But even in cases of poor fathering, no one needs to be without a perfect Father. God invites us to be his children, an offer that didn’t come without a “giving away.” Unlike earthly fathers who give away their daughters on a happy wedding day, God gave away his Son to an awful fate, a wrenching death he didn’t deserve. There is no greater sacrifice. Surely that day was excruciating for the Father, and yet he followed through.
Today we are able to reap the benefits of being children of that perfect Father. He is devoted beyond human capability and will never make the wrong call on our behalf. And if we wobble, he will stabilize us.
Although I was eager to have dad give me away on my wedding day, I don’t ever want God to give me away. And happily, he has promised he never will.
“To all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13)