“And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Peter 1:17-21).
Allow me, if I may, to speak for just a moment about my earthly father. He died in 1983 at the age of 62.
He was, in every sense of the word, my best friend. I had a remarkable relationship with him. I can say with all honesty that he and I never had an argument. Well, almost. When I returned from a summer in Lake Tahoe in 1970 with hair covering my ears and far down the back of my neck, we came pretty close to our first confrontation. But it was averted when my mother called her hairdresser over to our house who quickly clipped my long blonde locks!
Never once did I doubt my dad’s love for me. I could tell him anything. I never felt condemned or rejected by him. There was never a time when he was too busy for me. He never failed to attend every athletic event in which I participated. He affirmed me and loved me and never compared me with other boys. He always made me feel special. There was a very special bond of love between us.
But I feared my dad. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but it’s not. I feared him because I knew that he loved me too much to ignore my rebellion and sinfulness and childish immaturity. There were consequences for my actions, but I never questioned his intent or motivation or commitment to me. Discipline and intimacy were perfectly compatible in our rel