There were no suburban shopping malls when I was a kid. Young teens rode cheap, safe elevated trains to downtown Chicago, where they found big department stores and double feature movies. Best of all for me was knowing that Dad was downtown, too, officing at 111 W. Washington Street. His architectural and engineering firm, employing more than 200 draftsmen, occupied half of the 8th floor.
Dad was a successful businessman with many demands on his time, but none of that impressed me at 14. Instead, I loved the thick glass double doors with his name on them, his polished oak desk and his wall of windows overlooking the city.
After a day of shopping, I’d inevitably end up in Dad’s office, hoping for a hand-out. Scruffy-looking that I might be, once the receptionist recognized me, she’d quickly usher me through the secretarial pool and right into his office, even if he was conducting a meeting. Dad always smiled when he saw me. Walking through his door, I felt like somebody special.
Many girls grow up without this kind of father-love. God knew that would happen and made a special effort to fill the gap. The Bible often refers to him as our Father and even as our Daddy, inviting us into this parent-child relationship. All are welcome, and the best part is that his skills as a father supercede those of even the best earthly dad.
My father was committed to many people. His time was spread thin, and he didn’t always know the best way to solve every problem, especially when I became a big one at 17. Dad was also a worrier, and he often met with exhaustion. Though he smiled when I came to his office, he wasn’t always glad to be disturbed, for example, during the night.
Father-God, on the other hand, runs the whole world without becoming worn out or spread thin. He knows the answer to every question and is never confused. Best of all, the heavenly Father is always glad to see me coming, even during the night. Maybe especially during the night. I’ve never gotten the vibe, “Oh no, not you again.”
When my dad died, he left me. He couldn’t help it. Since then, my longing to talk to him and get his counsel has sometimes made me cry, because I know I can’t get to him. No amount of wishing will make it so.
But Father-God says he’ll never step away from me. He is always available and repeatedly says, “I love you with an everlasting love. If you’re fatherless, I’ll be your Father, welcoming you, comforting you, advising you.” He says that to me and also to you. He has said it to all of his children, throughout the ages, and what he says he’ll do, he always does.