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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day: God's Great Grace in Being Called "Dad"

Not too long ago I was plundering through an old wooden chest in our house that was packed full of family memories from the past 22 years. Among the many relics of time that took me back into the past were three pieces of colored construction paper, centered with a tiny individual hand print—one for each of my sons.

Above each hand print were the words, “To my Dad: Happy Father’s Day!”

I am guessing by the size of the hand prints and the disheveled, shaky lines of writing, that this fine artwork was copyrighted sometime in the late 90’s when the boys were in preschool or just starting grade school.

Today these brothers are young men. Jacob is 17, Noah is 16, Aaron is 15 and our family is now complete with a daughter (and little sister) appropriately named Hope, who is 4.

These crumpled Father’s Day cards from yester-year would be treasures enough in and of themselves. But for this father, every Father’s Day card is a reminder of God’s amazing grace and perfect providence.

When I was younger I imagined how great it would be to become a dad. I dreamt of how I would lead my kids into great adventures and pass on lessons of life that would develop into traditions for my children and their children’s children. For me, fatherhood has always been one of the most honorable callings—one that I have always aspired to.

After Kim and I were married we discovered that God had a different plan in store for our family. We would never be able to have biological children. There would be no passing of genetic traits or physical imprints duplicated from us to our baby, born naturally to our family. We would not have a boy with my eyes, or a little girl with my wife’s hair and smile.

But sometimes, instead of blessing us with children that have our own physical traits, God chooses to create for us a family that illustrates the characteristics of His very own grace.

Not too far down in the old trunk from the three pieces of hand-printed Father’s Day cards, is an old newspaper article from 1995. It tells of a two-year-old boy that was maliciously assaulted and nearly beaten to death by his stepfather. The child’s skull was fractured and his back was broken. He had two black eyes and a broken arm. The attending physician also noted several other past broken bones and scars that had healed without medical attention.

“It was the worst case of child abuse I have ever seen.” The state prosecutor was quoted in the article.

The violently abusive stepfather also had a biological son who showed signs of severe physical abuse and trauma as well. These two half-brothers were taken from their biological family and placed into the Social Welfare system of our state.

Back inside the wooden chest, next to the old newspaper clipping was a tiny plastic hospital bracelet that reads, “Baby-boy Harr”. It was taken from the wrist of a premature baby—a patient in the hospital N.I.C.U. where my wife worked, and still works today.

Born to a young mother with a criminal history and a drug addicted father, this tiny boy was small and frail—fair and beautiful. A note was placed on his crib that he was being “abandoned” by his birth mother to Social Services. No one knew anything about this child’s medical history, and no one had a dream of what his future would hold.

Later, on the other side of the world, there would be a baby girl left wrapped in a blanket on a desolate street corner, crying for no one to hear. She would be forsaken for the simple reason that she was a girl and not a boy. This helpless and hopeless baby would spend the next year in an orphanage and the foster care system of her communist nation.

Four lives touched by extreme tragedy, abandonment and abuse by biological blood—left hopeless and alone.

But God writes our story, from the beginning to the end…and He is always the hero.

He is a mighty defender of orphans—giving hope to the hopeless and strength to the downtrodden. He places the lonely into families. He is more concerned with the life giving blood of His Son than the biological blood of men. And what some may intend for evil, God purposely and powerfully turns to His glory and our greatest good.

And with this intentional tenacity, the sovereign Lord picked up the pieces of these broken lives and formed a family—we call it the Lucas Tribe.

None of us look anything alike, but we all share the traits of our Father.

So today, by God’s incredible grace and sovereign providential plan, I celebrate Father’s Day.

15 comments:

  1. Blessings on you and thanks for telling your deeply touching story!

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  2. Wish you happy Father's day 2010 and also for all my friends.

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  3. Praise the Lord for showing His love to these orphaned children through you and your wife. I started reading your blog not too long ago and was so encouraged to hear about how you came to be the father of these four precious children.

    May God continue to bless you, and happy Father's Day.

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  4. Happy fathers day Greg. You don't know me -- in fact I live half a world a way in the Middle East but have followed your blog for some time, reading the majority of posts with some attention. It is refreshing to see good Theology in action and you have earned my respect and admiration many times through your investment in and commitment to being a father in the likeness of the One we share.

    Today when I read this post I wept. Honest to goodness tears were streaming down my face and the next people to see me asked what happened; what was wrong. Nothing was wrong: something was right.

    I don't know how I missed the small detail that your children were adopted. Maybe I saw it somewhere but at the time hadn't developed a respect for what kind of father you are so it was just an 'oh isn't that nice' detail that I promptly forgot. Maybe I never saw it. In any case I didn't know and today it hit me like a ton of bricks.

    Congratulations on being a father in the truest sense. I pray will you continue to be molded into and reflect the image of the Father to the fatherless.

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  5. We wanted to stop by and wish you a Happy Father's Day. You have changed our lives -- truly, you have. Thank you.

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  6. Thank you for telling this story. I don't think I will ever forget these details. You and your wife truly do reflect the light of Christ. May God bless you and your precious wife!

    Happy Father's Day!

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  7. You are a freak. And you know I mean that in the best sense. Love you bro.

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  8. Greg, your writing is such a gift. You have a way of reminding me how God makes things right, even when we think they are broken beyond repair. Your and Kim's story not only touches me as a parent, but as the child of an adult who needs care due to the demons of schizophrenia. Can't wait to read your book. And I still smile when I remember the goat in the car... Love and miss you guys!

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  9. As a dad to our special needs 12-yr old that we adopted at infancy, here in my marriage that early on learned we could not have biological children, my wife and I being adopted ourselves - Oh yeah. I can resonate perfectly with your post. Again.

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  10. you are such a blessing man
    i love your family and have never met any of you personally but been following your blog

    can't wait to fellowship with you guys in heaven if we never see each other on this earth

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  11. AMEN! Thanks for sharing this beautiful story of God's design to bring your children from fatherless to having a father who points them to their heavenly Father! Praise be to God!!!

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  12. Wow. I just came across your blog and I am amazed by the love flowing through you for your family and for our wonderful God. Thank you for blessing me with your words...
    - April W

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  13. Blessings on you for doing God's work!

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  14. There's a special place in the heart of God for those like yourself and your wife.
    Hi. I came across your blog through another blog I follow and have signed up as a follower. When you’re free, please do visit me and let me know what you think of my blog and leave a comment. If you like, do follow as well. I am always open to great new people and interesting websites. Look forward to hearing from you.

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  15. I happened onto your blog today, it truly touched me deeply. We adopted our son from foster care when he was 5 learning later he has autism. Although, our life with our son is a challenge I am amazed and thankful for how God planned our family. Your blog has uplifted my heart and spirit.

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