Just yesterday it was “Father’s Day,” and on this day which comes every year children honor their fathers. It is a time of thankfulness for our father’s and how they care and love us. It is a time where we lift them up and give them praise for the work that they have done to make us each better and stronger. It is a time when we celebrate their accomplishments with us and how they have molded us into who we are.
Sadly though, not all children have fathers to look up to, because of circumstances which can be too numerous to discuss here. Children remember the good times with their fathers, the times of going to the beach, camping and hearing stories around the campfire, seeing dad come home from work and pestering him until he gives you a wink, smile or a hug, and then there were times we would have a nice sit down movie watching night or game night. Yes our fathers are great.
It wasn’t that way with me. My father decided he didn’t want to stay home and I was raised by other men in my life, good men don’t get me wrong but they weren’t my father. I got to see him at times, after the divorce from my mother, he was required to take me during the summer. That was the agreement drawn up by the courts. Was I disheartened by all this? No, I was only 5-6 years old what could I possibly know about divorce, but I did remember. My father was my idol, and even though he hurt me deeply, he was still my father and I respected him. As for loving him, I am sorry to say that was never a reality, because I knew that he didn’t want me, I heard him argue with my mother over their mistake. He kept saying that was me. I believed he left because of me.
Every summer my father would come to the house, pick me up and take me with him to Florida, where I would stay with him until summer was over. I did this every summer, but it was only because he had to, not because he wanted to. When I was 15 years of age, my father picked me up as usual for the summer and we went to his house in Ft. Lauder-dale, Florida, where I learned more about how it was to be an orphan child. What I mean by this is that my father wasn’t the best guy in my life and when he wanted to have women over for the evening I was either put at the restaurant he ran or I was taken and dropped off at the beach. Let me tell you the beach in Ft. Lauder-dale, isn’t as nice during the evening hours as it is during the day.
Here I was a fifteen year old boy, walking around the beach at night, and this is where I learned about my father’s love for me and I found out how to survive. I grew up in those years, very fast, matter-a-fact, you might say I grew up too fast. I avoided the police because people on the beach said that they would lock me up. I avoided very friendly people and I tried to stay in well lit areas. I also avoided the Jesus freaks, you know the people with the long hair, beards, and that big humongous Bible in their hands. Little did I realize it back then, but I soon would become one of them. Not the long haired flower type, hippie, follower of Jesus, but more. The courts back home would have my father’s head, but for some strange reason I felt safe wherever I went. It seemed that an angel or some protective force kept me from harm.
At age sixteen, I found Jesus, the real Lord Jesus Christ at a movie theater in my home town. A man by the name of Pastor Anthony Testasecca was holding a showing of a Christian movie, so I went. When the movie ended I met this pastor and he led to Jesus. Since that day I found out that I was always loved by God Himself and He started proving this to me. As I grew older I gained my knowledge about Father God. My heart became more in tune with His. I was always thanking Him for everything. Jesus Christ came into my heart and so did the Father and the Holy Ghost. They made their abode inside of me. The earthly father that I never knew was replaced with a loving Father who cared for me know matter what. He saw to my needs. He watched over me and He assigned angels to care for me. He taught me His Word and He loved me as His son. Now I walk with Him wherever I go and he guides me where to help others. I am the man of God that He wanted me to be and I honor My heavenly Father everyday , not just on Father’s Day that would not be honor but I praise Him and thank Him everyday because He is my life.
You may ask did my father and I get to know each other? Yes, after I graduated from boot camp in Orlando, Florida. My father and I went to Disney World together and just hung out.. I didn’t realize it then, but my father was sick and while I was in the Mediterranean Sea on maneuvers, I received a message that my father had died. I want you to know I was devastated about the news, and I ran to the chapel on the ship and cried like a baby, not because of my father’s death, but because I never got a chance to say I forgive him. It took many hours in the chapel of pouring out my heart to Father God until I had peace. The Father touched me with an outpouring of peace and comfort that only the Holy Spirit can give me. I forgave my earthly father, by confessing to my heavenly Father. I returned home and buried my father.
I know what it means to walk with God. I know from experience what king David said in Psalms 27:10, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” When I felt that I had nobody that cared for me and I am sure there are others that feel the same way look at this Scripture. The Lord will not forsake you and He will bring you to Him. He will love you and He will show many wonderful things. He is, “A father of the fatherless…” (Psalms 68:5) “Like a father who pities his children, so the Lord pities them that fear Him.” (Psalms 103:13) You have a God, a Father who is there for you no matter what you may be going through.
Today and forever I know who my father is, do you?
Be blessed, Jeffrey Clifford.