What hats do you wear? I’m sure even as you think about that question there are probably a hundred different answers that you could give… for some you may think of your jobs or careers – you might wear the hat of an insurance adjuster, or a lawyer, or maybe a teacher, or administrator of some kind… you might work for a television company or church or elementary school or medical supply company or hospital. Maybe you think first of what you do for fun – you’re wear the runner’s hat, or the climber’s, a weekend warrior-type, or an avid reader or a someone who crotchets things. Some of you might not think of your jobs or hobbies at all because… well, you could careless… You might think more about your families and you wear the hat of a husband or wife or brother or sister or mother or father… all of us wear the hats of sons or daughters.
More than likely though you are like me and think of all of those types of things all at once. You are a your own virtual milliner – always taking on new roles and responsibilities – both big and small, familial and professional…
This idea of roles and responsibilities and wearing new hats has become particularly significant to me over the last few months as I prepare to put on one of the most important hats of my life – the Daddy Hat. In about 4 months I will be a father, and yes… I’m aware of how heavy a hat that is… even as I type those words I am filled with an exuberance that I can actually taste, and in the same moment I’m nearly overcome with the need to protect and defend the child that has yet to see the light of day… There is an actual weight to that word “father.”
It also has me exploring the whole concept of the Divine Fatherhood of God in a new way as well – in a way that is immediately applicable to how I will be as a dad. For God as our Father is a provider of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). He shows us his love in the middle of our deepest need as he reached down to us – offering salvation through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ for our sins (Romans 5:8). In fact, it is only through his eternal Son, and his sacrifice, that we can be called sons and daughters of God. We are adopted (Ephesians 1:4). You see as our Father, God adopted us at a great cost – sacrificially loving us… Sacrificial love – means giving up something very great in order that your love is demonstrated.
Love, real love is something that we struggle with all too often. We think of love more as a matter of getting rather than giving, and I have even seen too many fathers and mothers try to get things from their own kids calling it love. They try to gain a sense of meaning, or reliving their own youth. They use their children as sounding boards for their own failures and mistakes, or they take out the frustrations of their days on them. Their kind of parental “love” is more about what they get from their kids than what they give… but that is far from the biblical, divine paradigm.
Now, I’m not a parent, yet… but I think the hat of true fatherhood is worn by those men who would live out a God-like, sacrificial example for their children. It’s a difficult but joyful kind of love that calls dads (and moms) to put themselves aside for the good of their sons and daughters. Looking to the needs of the child before their own. As I look to the example of my Heavenly Father, I pray I can wear the hat well, and ask him that when I fail he would cover me with his “Abba” grace that goes far beyond what I deserve.