A Father Who Waits

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This article originally appeared on the Be Love Revolution blog.

I’ve noticed in my own life how easy it is to relate to God as Someone who wants something from me—like an employer, a landlord, or a coach—and my “job” is to earn the right to be loved and accepted by obeying, serving, and loving Him. But the problem with this approach is that God isn’t looking for employees, tenants, or rule followers, He desires a deep, personal relationship with each of us that is rooted in trust.

To understand this reality, I’ve been meditating on the goodness and kindness of the Father, so that I can move from an “earning mentality” to a childlike posture of believing and receiving His unconditional love for me. Reflecting on my own father has helped me to do this.

I have a distinct memory of my earthly dad always waiting for me—waiting up for me to come home when I was a teenager (not sure I always appreciated it then), waiting for me to arrive home when I made the five-hour drive from college, and waiting for me when I came back to visit with my own kids. Throughout the years, his faithful “waiting” helped create for me a sense of stability and care, despite a painful family tragedy, rocky years of high school, and disagreements about my life choices. My father’s care was far from perfect and he often didn’t know how to talk through things, but his waiting implied: “I am here; I’m not going anywhere; your life, your part in our family, and your well-being matter immensely to me.”

A few years ago, as he lay dying, in and out of consciousness, my twin sister and I went to him. And for one final time, he was waiting for us. As we approached his bedside, he called out in a loud, strong, excited voice to my mother, who had died from cancer four years earlier. “Carole, the girls are here! Debbie and Dana are home!” And once again, a familiar scene was re-enacted in my mind—my dad waiting in the den for the front door to open, and then calling to my mom upstairs, to announce my arrival. And even as he took his last breath, he was waiting for me, so that now, at last he could go home to his Heavenly Father who was waiting for him.

Although my father’s mind and body were ravaged from disease, he represented to me the patient, ever-waiting-always-present heart of my Heavenly Father.

I am thankful for my father, for always waiting for me, for his selflessness and unconditional love, and the pain he carried for our family. I pray that he is in heaven with our Father, and that he is still eagerly waiting for me to come Home.

Debbie Herbeck

Debra Herbeck speaks at conferences and retreats about spiritual growth, discipleship, and her own journey from Judaism to the Catholic Church. For the past thirty years, she has worked extensively in youth and women’s ministry. Debbie is the co-founder and leader of Be Love Revolution, a movement dedicated to helping young women encounter and be God’s love in the world. Debbie is the director of Pine Hills Girls Camp. She also helps lead i.d.9:16, an outreach of Renewal Ministries that equips young adult Catholics to live as intentional disciples. She has written Safely Through the Storm: 120 Reflections on Hope, Firmly on the Rock: 120 Reflections on Faith, and Love Never Fails: 120 Reflections on Love. She and her husband Peter co-authored When the Spirit Speaks: Touched by God’s Word. Debbie and Peter have four children and four grandchildren. They live in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Debbie can be contacted at dherbeck@renewalministries.net.

2 thoughts on “A Father Who Waits

  1. Wow Deb, thank you for this heartfelt reflection. As we mentor kids through the peaks and valleys of life it is good to remember this is a lifelong investment and one we claim will “eventually” produce fruit.

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