Father’s Day always reminds me of the Easter cantata No Greater Love written by John W. Peterson.
Peterson based many of the songs in this cantata on passages from the Gospels of Matthew and John. These books tell the story of a Father who loved the world so much that He gave His only son so that we might live. That’s some awfully powerful love.
I remember my own father singing a solo from this cantata when I was a child. He didn’t have a trained voice, but Daddy sang from the heart: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
My father believed in living by the Word. He studied the Word. He taught the Word. He lived the Word by example. I wish we had more fathers like this today.
My father was the hardest working man I’ve ever known. He worked twelve-hour days as a salesman and then came home to work a small farm that provided food for his family. He helped his neighbors. He loved his wife. He loved his daughters. He loved his family. He loved his church. He loved his Lord.
Daddy ruled the roost. He was quick to correct me as a child, but he was also swift to support me as a young adult. I feared his belt and his disappointment, but I cherished his hugs and his pride in my accomplishments.
I lost my father over thirty-two years ago, but I see his hands more than I see his face.
As a child I sat beside him in church on Sunday and Wednesday nights, and I studied his hands. He had lost the end of one finger in a farming accident, and his thumbs were always calloused and blistered. He often held my hand, especially when we prayed.
Shortly after my father died in 1985, Holly Dunn’s song “Daddy’s Hands” became popular. I felt like this song was written just for me.
I remember Daddy’s hands folded silently in prayer and reaching out to hold me when I had a nightmare. You could read quite a story in the callouses and lines. Years of work and worry had left their mark behind. There are things that I’ve forgotten that I loved about the man, but I’ll always remember the love in Daddy’s hands. If I could do things over, I’d live my life again and never take for granted the love in Daddy’s hands.
Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was crying. Daddy’s hands were hard as steel when I’d done wrong. Daddy’s hands weren’t always gentle, but I’d come to understand there was always love in Daddy’s hands.
I look forward to holding your hand again someday, Daddy. Thank you for loving me and for teaching me about the love of our Heavenly Father.
The musical No Greater Love, based on John 15:12-13, reminds us all to love each other as He has loved us. There is no greater love than the love The Father has for His child.