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Happy ______ Day 06/13/2008

Fathers Day

This weekend should be special for every family as we celebrate Father's Day. Hopefully you can enjoy it freely, easily and with great gratitude, because your father has had such a positive affect on your life. For me, this was simply not the case.

My father was missing. The short time he entered our lives, he created misery beyond imagination. Though it was not intentional, he was controlled by alcohol. He did not know how to appropriately love his wife or his son. My heart is filled with sorrow for his wasted life. He sang with a beautiful, mellow voice, even when he was drunk. He played the piano. He had a winsome personality. He could have been a successful salesman. There were glimpses of wonderful gifts, but they never came to fruition.

He had beautiful, wavy hair that was already salt-and-pepper gray by the time I was a teenager. People said my dad was handsome, but to me he was the ugliest man I ever saw. It's sad to have such memories.

Far too many people have a similar impression of their father. Many fathers are missing. Or if they're present, they're not pleasant. Some have more negative effects on their family than positive. Many children do not see an example of strength, love and leadership that they desperately need. Society is starved for strong-principled, stable men who inspire valuable character traits in their children.

I recognize to this very day the need for affirmation in my own life. I never heard, "That's good, son...way to go...good catch...I'm proud of you." I just never heard it. Did I long for it? You better believe it. Even to this day, I seek it among friends, co-workers, and my own family.

I receive affirmation from those around me, but because of the massive, empty hole that he left, it's easy to wonder whether this particular need can ever be adequately satisfied. I needed correction, direction and a loving, but firm, hand in my life. I needed someone to answer questions. I needed to know what was typical of boys, and I needed a father to tell me how to better shape my thinking and consider my actions. I needed a guiding light to help me develop good habits and learn how to properly treat people. All of these things were missing.

You may ask, "James, how do you deal with this emptiness?" It is only through the supernatural, miraculous power of a loving Father in Heaven. God is my Father and He is my Friend. He taught me how to notice the needs of others, how to truly care about them, and how to devote my time and energy to help others in every possible way. Perhaps sometimes I'm too anxious to help, too quick to give counsel or advice. Perhaps the longing of my own heart causes me to be overbearing in my attempt to share my opinions. It is very difficult to overcome those things which are lacking because a missing father. Yet, I know that God has helped me. I know He will help every person who will trust Him, seek Him and follow Him.

I believe God showed me how to love our children. He helps me let them know that above all, I want what is best for them and that I seek to share what I have learned in the best way possible. I am absolutely certain that my three children never knew I was more right than when I openly acknowledged I was wrong. My children saw a father who really needed to learn; who was perhaps difficult to teach at times, but very teachable on other occasions. Children become more teachable when they recognize that their parents are teachable. I think they saw that I tried to be a good father and wanted to know the ultimate Father. At the very least, I sought to inspire all of them to know the One who is the only perfect Father.

I can say with gratitude that our children have found a personal relationship with our wonderful, living God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the center of their lives and their families. Our son, Randy, and our two sons-in-law, Terry and Kenny, are great fathers. They go far beyond anything I ever did as a father. I am inspired by them. I am grateful that perhaps in some way I have at least contributed, because my sweet wife Betty and I have continually prayed for God to grant them wisdom and direction as they guide their families. I know that our son and sons-in-law will have a happy Father's Day because they have brought great joy not only to their families, but also to their parents.

I also thank God for the joy of being a father to two beautiful girls. As teenagers, I urged them to look for a man who would love God more than he loved them, because only in that way could he love them in the way they needed to be loved. Our girls found such men--great husbands and great fathers.

To all who have a stable family life and a good father, give thanks God and encourage your father. Regardless of how strong he appears to be, he needs and cherishes your words of affirmation. Nothing blesses those who truly love you like recognition and appreciation of their positive effect on your life. Every dad needs to hear it.

If, like me, you missed the blessings that a strong father can give, I invite, challenge, and even plead with you to give God a chance to fill the gaping hole in your heart. He is able. Painful memories will not disappear, but even through the anguish you can find inspiration and healing in a Heavenly Father. Then, he can enable you to become a blessing in someone else's life. You can find meaning and love when you share the heart of the Father with others.

So on this day, God bless fathers and God bless the fatherless.

Author: James Robison

Word Count: 1010

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Soul of a Nation, The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.