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January 5, 2010 / beidson

Is It Any Wonder You Love So Much? An Open Letter to My Father

Dear Dad,

Is it any wonder that you love so much?  You have been forgiven a debt you could never repay.  It was a great and awful debt, and I know it must have haunted you to death–I know because I carried it too.  It was never as heavy on my shoulders as it was on yours, but I could feel it.  You are my father, and what hurts you hurts me.

You have endured suffering beyond anything I could begin to imagine, and I have no explanation except to say that God intends to do you great good through such great evil.  What your enemies meant for harm, God has only ever intended for your eternal good.  Even now, you know his kindness has led you to repentance.  Your tears of mourning have become tears of joy, and I am sure that in the future, when you are in the pit again, God will lift you up once more and give you gladness beyond the weight of grief which burdens you.

I do not know all of the reasons God permitted violence against you.  But he gave his son to be murdered–he gave him gladly as a sacrifice.  Jesus knows your suffering as one who endured it as well.  He knows what it is to be mocked and laughed at and cursed and stripped.  But he was cast down so that he might be lifted up.  He was thrown into the pit so that he might pull you out.

When you were in that darkness, I know you could not see the goodness which God intended for you.  But when he sent a Light for you, how happy you must have been.  I know you see goodness when you look at a bloody lamb, because you yourself have bled at the hands of wicked men.  But you were cast down so that you could be lifted up.

Dad, I love you.  And I know you love me.  You love me so much because you have been forgiven so much.  I can hardly remember any pain you ever caused me because of the pleasure you brought me as a father–your loving playfulness and laughter have outlived dark moments we endured.  And when I do recall things done against me, I am reminded of my own sins against you, and greater still, I am reminded of God’s goodness toward the both of us.  How can we who have been forgiven so much not love in kind?  His grace compels us toward reconciliation.

If there comes a time when your mind takes you back to corners and closets where dark stories wait to be told, remember, God does not condemn you.  “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers . . . By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our hearts before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything” (1 John 3:16, 19-20).

As far as you can find sin in your heart, so far has Jesus gone to remove it.  As deep as you go into despair, just as deeply has he descended to give you hope.  And when you don’t know that God loves you, remember, I do.  Let my love for you be proof that God loves you still, for I cannot love you except that I have first been loved by him.

And when your sin and suffering swell again, remember that God has used them for our good, so that your love for me might be even greater.  One day, your suffering will be swallowed with the grave, and the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet.  I will be there with you, laughing in delight that we were rescued from him.

I love you Dad,

Benjamin

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