Each of us has an ache in our hearts: an emptiness and need to feel complete. We are wounded because, for many of us, our earthly fathers never effectively communicated the message each of us needs desperately to hear: “You are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased!”
Back during my social work days, I remember a book called The Blessing. The book details that we long to hear from our fathers that we have what it takes—that we are good enough. Regardless of what we achieve in our lives, without this foundational affirmation deep within us from our fathers, we can feel incomplete.
I know the pain one of my brothers feels even today because he didn’t get this affirmation from our father. Even though he earned a doctor of chiropractic degree and has run a successful chiropractic practice for over 30 years, he still struggles with the scars from this wound.
I too remember what it felt like not to have it. And I remember the weight that was lifted when I did receive it from my father. I am a high achiever and I come from a family of high achievers. I finished high school and college in three years. I finished grad school in one. Three years after college, I was directing a staff of six and my social work agency earned President Bush’s “Thousand Points of Light” award. However, there was an ache in me because I sensed my parents were disappointed I never went on to complete my doctorate.
I remember once being at my folk’s house when my cellphone rang. I answered it and counseled a woman experiencing a suicidal crisis for about an hour as my father listened. I convinced her to flush her drugs down the toilet and told her that I would see her later in the week. When I hung up the phone, my dad asked if the woman was going to be okay and how I knew what to say to her. I told him, “That’s my job.” I still remember the look of awe on my dad’s face. A longing deep inside me was satisfied that afternoon.
What can we do if that longing was never met by our earthly fathers? Well, we have a heavenly Father who has, from the beginning of time, loved us. We read in Scripture, “God so loved the world that, while we were still sinners, He sent His only begotten Son to die for us, so that whosoever believes in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16).
Jesus shows us that through our baptism we are the adopted sons and daughters of God. This means we now can experience the forgiveness that the son in the parable of the prodigal son does when the father proclaims, “Let us kill the fatted calf, for my son was once dead, but now is alive. He was lost, but now he is found” (Lk. 15:23-24).
I invite you to spend some quiet time in prayer to hear God the Father say to you, “You are my beloved.” God meets us where we are and desperately desires to communicate His love for us as we are. He constantly invites us to be transformed by His perfect love so that we can become the best versions of ourselves as His sons and daughters.
Jim Gorski is a 57-year-old father of four children who has been married to the same woman for 34 years. He completed his master’s degree in social work in 1984 and has directed church music groups for the past 39 years. He remains a grateful child of the most high God and strives to trust in God’s loving mercy and His ability to provide for Jim’s every need.