Someone once said, “Fathers are what give daughters away to men who aren’t nearly good enough for them, so they can have children smarter than anybody’s.”
Every day hundreds of men suddenly find themselves designated the “father of the bride.” And each one travels down a nostalgic memory-laden path and asks himself. Why should a father have to give away his little girl? It seems like only yesterday that she was a red-faced, wrinkled infant behind a nursery window. A toddler who pulled on his pant legs. A gangly gap-toothed sprite who rode on his shoulders. And a blossoming young woman who tugged on his heartstrings.
The father of the bride fluctuates rapidly between nostalgia and nausea. One man said that giving his daughter in marriage could only be compared to taking a $100,000 Stradivarius violin and giving it to a gorilla.
In all the excitement of a wedding, the father may become the forgotten man. His opinion is asked about nothing; but he’s expected to pay for everything. He has to put up with pre-nuptial nerves, tight tuxedoes, and endless discussions about colors and flowers—considered earth-shaking issues in his household.
Although many years ago, I can still see my father pacing up and down the church hall before my wedding. Maybe he was thinking about handing me over to a man he had known less than two days. In that solemn moment before the Wedding March began, he turned to me and said, “The get-away car is parked by the door. It’s not too late if you want to forget the whole thing.”
I didn’t. But in that one expression, my father told me what alcoholism and cynicism had kept him from putting into appropriate words or actions–he loved me. Enough to continue supporting me indefinitely. Enough to want to be certain that I knew my heart. Although he wasn’t sure about “gaining a son,” he didn’t want to lose a daughter.
Even the best father-child relationship (which ours certainly wasn’t) can only imperfectly picture the heavenly Father’s love for his children. John wrote: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God” (1 John 3:1a NKJV). From spiritual infancy to maturity, He cradles, carries, and comforts us. But in the frenzied pace of life, God the Father may become the forgotten man. Whose opinion is sought about nothing—until the bills come due. Then we cry out for His assistance. And we find that He has been with us all the time, patiently waiting for our priorities to change from personal whims to vital issues.
Although not visible, God’s arm of support is substantial. He asks us to search our hearts and to lean on Him as we walk into an uncertain future. His love goes with us. And it is enough. Enough to last beyond all earth-bound loves. This “Wedding March” has rung out millions of times through the ages. The heavenly Father has gained many sons. And He has never lost a daughter.
**This article is part of Vicki Huffman’s nonfiction Christian book, The Best of Times with a Foreword by Dr. Warren Wiersbe, originally published by Broadman Press. Although the book is out of print, Vicki has revised and updated it to make it available as an affordable e-book . The Best of Times is a collection of inspirational (some humorous, some touching) vignettes about the “times” mentioned in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Look for it in Amazon’s Kindle section starting July 5, 2011.
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