When I was around 8 years old, my father, John McLarty, entered my life. Before that, there had never been a man in my life I could call “dad.” After John and my mother were married, he 100% committed to being my dad; in fact, he adopted all three of us. The adoption itself was quite miraculous. My parents had very little money, but a retiring attorney, in the final case of his career—gave them a great deal—$100.00 a pop. I wish I knew who he was so I could go back and thank him. My dad was all in to being our dad!
But…I wasn’t nearly as committed to being John’s daughter… as he was committed to being my dad.
I was rebellious. I was suspicious of his motives. I was sneaky. I really didn’t think he’d stick around. But—he did. Through my stormy teen years he spent hundreds of hours teaching me, counseling me, guiding me—and most of the time I didn’t even listen. I did what I wanted. I had little appreciation for his effort and sacrifice. After all, I’d made it just fine without a dad during my formative years—what did he know?
Dad was persistent. He prayed. He gave.
It wasn’t until after I was grown and had children of my own, that I realized how much I had under-appreciated all he did. You see, it is quite natural to love our own children—even if they’re hellions— because they’re part of us. However, to unconditionally love another man’s child requires a greater love! Year after year my dad demonstrated his love by sacrificing time, money, career, and perhaps even—his desire to have another biological child. And—I wasn’t exactly a thankful, grateful, and well-behaved child. He chose fatherhood even though he likely had little idea of all the sacrifices his choice to be a dad would mean.
My dad, John McLarty, reminds me so much of my Heavenly Father.
The day I was born again by receiving Christ as my Savior and Lord—God adopted me into HIS family.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”John 1:12-13
God adopted me without reservation—even though He already knew all of the pain and sacrifice He would have to endure for every crime I would commit against His love. Take a minute and ponder that kind of love. I am not sure any of us can really comprehend it! Most of us would NEVER CHOOSE to love someone we know would betray us!
But—God did. He does.
Jesus, KNOWING it would cost Him His very life, spoke these words:
“For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”Romans 5:7-8
Ah, how merciful and patient God is with us. God loves us more than we love ourselves. He offers us love even when we hate Him. Throughout the years when I lived in defiant opposition to God’s love—He continued to love me. Finally, His love proved to be greater than my resistance.
When we begin to experience God’s love, we realize how irresistible He is. Like a child rescued from the slums—we run into the arms of our Savior! As parents, all of us fail to attain perfection for our children; however, our Heavenly Father does NOT fail. He is perfect in all His ways. He has a fantastic plan for our life! Like my dad, He has a great vision for our future.
My daily prayer includes: “Father help me to know You, as I am known by You, so I can comprehend the depth, length, breadth and width of Your great love for me.” I am grateful for an earthly father who helped me know my Heavenly Father!
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the gift of your love. Thank you, dad, for showing me the love of my Heavenly Father!
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