Growing up as a child I had two fathers, a biological father and a foster father. My mother died two days after I was born, and because I was a twin, my brother and I desperately needed someone to take care of us while my father worked, and we were placed in the home of friends. This arrangement was supposed to last a few weeks until my father could get things sorted out, but it lasted until I graduated from high school.
My foster parents had a dairy farm, and my father would visit us there two or three days a week. My father took me fishing and participated in my recreational activities. He also paid for our board and room. Dad, my biological father, and Uncle Sherm, my foster father, each had their own role to play in my life, and somehow they functioned together very well. I benefitted from this arrangement because each knew his role.
Another interesting thing, this was all done by mutual agreement and a handshake, there was no government agency involved. Times were different back in 1945.
I would spend a few days with Dad every couple of months. Dad was a religious man who never missed going to church unless he were ill. My Dad had devotions every morning. We would gather in the living room and Dad would read from the Bible, at least a chapter. As a child, I thought he was reading the entire Bible! Then we would kneel and pray. My Dad could pray forever. Anyway, it seemed like forever, and I wanted to play or do something other than read the Bible and pray.
Dad was a Bible student. He could quote large portions of Scripture and he knew when Scripture was poorly applied. Even as a child I learned that my faith and my personal relationship with God were the most important thing in my parents’ life.
Dad loved to garden and worked in the agricultural business, so I learned gardening from both fathers.
Uncle Sherm taught me the basics of everyday farm life. Feeding and milking the cows, chopping kindling, gathering eggs and all those little chores of farm life. Even though I was raised with an unconventional type of home life I always knew that I was loved by my foster mother, the only mother I ever had, and my two fathers.
Many Christian psychologists feel that if you had a good father-child relationship, it makes it much easier to identify with God as your heavenly Father. If you had an abusive or neglectful father, then understanding God as your father is more difficult. Because your earthly father failed you, it makes it difficult to understand that Father God never fails. I was so fortunate to have two good role models as Father. Two very different men, who worked together to be a father to me.
I am most grateful for being introduced to my Heavenly Father at a very early age. I know my Heavenly Father loves me. He loved me so very much that He offered His one and only Son as a sacrifice for my sins so that I could have eternal life. I am also thankful that Jesus came in obedience to His father. I am so grateful that God provided us with His Holy Spirit to lead and guide us each day. The God I love and serve is a God of love, and I know He really loves me. The God I love and serve is a God of love who knows how to take care of me and meet my every need.
Fathers are so very important in our lives and I was fortunate enough to have two really good men as fathers. But the most important relationship I have in my life is with my relationship Heavenly Father. The one thing I hope you get from this article is that God loves you, He really loves you, and you can trust Him with your life.
The Rev. Keith Hixson is pastor of Bethel Assembly of God. Contact him at 509 527-3900. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should contact Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.