“Beholding” Father’s Day

It’s barely a month after surviving the challenge of Mother’s Day, and our overwhelmed lives are confronted with yet another demand for some significant indication of parental appreciation. Now we have to think up something that we can do for Dad that’s meaningful, affordable, available on Amazon Prime, and that will make him think we’re the most sensitive, caring, insightful son or daughter any father could ever hope to have. Let’s face it–that’s a tall order, so let me get at least one important thing out of the way first. I can’t help you with any of that. I have no suggestions for last minute gifts or special Father’s Day celebrations, but you don’t need that anyway. There are gazillions of web pages already doing that, and some may even include some innovative, new yoga positions to help relieve that awful headache you get from trying to wade through all the ads and finally make a decision. What I would like to do, instead, is to suggest a way to enhance our Father’s Day reflections by looking at it through the lens of a simple admonition from God. But let me insert a personal note to preface that discussion . . .

The Search Begins ~
Many who know me are aware that I struggled with the whole “father” issue for most of my life. I never met my biological father and grew up knowing virtually nothing about him beyond his name. Questions about him were brushed aside with no clear answers and open discussions about him were neither invited nor permitted. The subject of my father was an informational “black hole,” and I wrestled with the implications of that void on several levels. The mystery haunted me throughout my developmental years and followed me into my adult life. Finally, a few years ago, my aunt sent me a picture of my father. Prior to that, I had never seen his face and that picture stirred up every longing I ever had to know who he really was, where he was, and what happened to him after I was born. That, and a few other incidents, inspired my wife and me to seriously undertake a mission to “find” my father.

Years of work and untold hours of research, coupled with several episodes of divine intervention and my wife’s continual encouragement and dogged determination, eventually paid off. We discovered family that we never knew we had and developed relationships that have become priceless. When I think about my father now, it isn’t just a black hole in my mind and heart anymore. Even though I didn’t get to meet him face-to-face, I learned a lot about him and about the family I never knew I had. The picture was the beginning. Finally, I got to “see” him in a way I had never been able to do previously, and in many ways, I see myself differently because of it. Fathers can have that effect on you, even if you never got to meet them face-to-face.

But as powerful as the impact of knowing about him was for me, some vital elements were still missing. He established his fatherhood for me, but that’s about all he was ever able to do. I got his last name and some of his DNA, but he never had the opportunity to offer much else. Whatever love he may have had was never able to find its way to me. Unknown to my mom and anyone else in our family, he was killed when I was still a toddler, so there were no expressions of “anything.” Being called his child didn’t mean much, since I had no idea who he really was.

A Father with No Failures ~
But then someone introduced me to Jesus Christ, and I discovered a Father with no failures, one who could fulfill every dream any child could ever hope to receive from a father. Being this Father’s child clears up every imperfection left by every imperfect human father we may have had and enhances every loving expression ever offered by a dad to his son or daughter. He is the Father most deserving of our attention, our honor, and our sacrificial love this Father’s Day . . . and there are a couple of words we rarely hear anymore that might help us to do that. The words are “behold” and “bestowed,” and John uses both of them in revealing the most profound truth about fatherhood we will ever hear.

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 1 John 3:1-2 (NKJV)

A Lesson in Beholding ~
My personal journey to find my father began with a little faded black and white picture. When I got it, I didn’t just “look” at it. I held it in my hands and pondered it. That picture represented a partial answer to so many questions. I wanted to crawl inside it. I scrutinized every detail. We sent it to a lab and had it enlarged and restored. We added color to it. I gazed at it with wonder, and with more than just my eyes. I did with it what God intends us to do when He uses the word “behold.”

God invites us to “behold” the kind of love it took to devise a way to transform flawed, rebellious, self-centered, and hopeless sinners — a way that would pay the awful price required to grant us a new birth and bring us into His family. This is not just a lesson in theology. It’s the profound revelation of a deeply personal, eternal, and unchangeable relationship that comes with benefits that are incomprehensible, and all that is included in that relationship is “bestowed,” not earned, not deserved, not achieved by any merit or effort on our part.

What if on Father’s Day this year we included some time to heed God’s admonition to really “behold” the love that He “bestowed” upon us? What if we looked at it, studied it, and pondered it with more than our eyes? What if we took seriously what it really means to be called the children of God? Maybe in doing that, love would come full circle–not only expressed in the gifts we give our fathers, but in unbounded praise for “all” the Father has given us.

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About Ron Gallagher, Ed.S

Author, Speaker, Bible Teacher, Humorist, Satirist, Blogger ... "Right Side Up Thinking ~ In an Upside Down World" For Ron's full bio, go to GallaghersPen.com/about/
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4 Responses to “Beholding” Father’s Day

  1. I miss my earthly father every day, but these words of wisdom hold so true, Ron. God is our Father in Heaven, the one we can call Abba every single day. What could be better than that? I know it must hurt in your heart not to have known and interacted with your earthly dad, but so glad you had the courage and fortitude to share your feelings here.


    • No wonder God inspired Paul to declare that if our hope in Christ was limited to life in this world only, we would be of all men most to be pitied. I feel sorry for the spiritual emptiness of those who think that there is nothing beyond their last breath. No wonder so many of them turn to some kind of mind-altering, mood-manipulating chemical or lifestyle marked by devotion to self-gratification at all costs. They live on fantasy and die without hope, and that is the ultimate tragedy. Thank you, Martha, for your faithful allegiance to God’s truth and your efforts to declare and demonstrate that Jesus offers “life, and that more abundantly.”


  2. wayne raborn says:

    excellent article my friend.


    • I’m so sorry that I somehow missed responding to your comment, Wayne. It was such an unexpected blessing to hear from you, and it made my day. Unfortunately, things were a bit hectic around the Gallagher compound at that time, travels, family issues, etc., and I guess I just got too distracted and overlooked it. It did, however, grant me two opportunities to think about you and pray that things are going well for you and your family, once when you sent it, and then again today when I realized that I hadn’t responded. I hope you’ll forgive me for that, and I also hope that I have an opportunity to see you again in the not so distant future and catch up a bit. Your friendship toward Bob and me over the years is a classic example of faithfulness and encouragement.


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