When I was little, my dad used to embarrass me to no end. As most dads do, my dad thinks he’s hilarious—he loves making puns, talking when we want to leave, starting unnecessary conversations, and telling stories that get significantly longer and more dramatic each time. Part of me has gotten used to it. The other part of me still palms my face when he starts telling, for the umpteenth time, the lengthy story of him getting a snake caught in his pant leg (which, by the way, turned out to be a lizard and not a cobra or python or viper or whatever snake the story has now evolved into).
About a year back, I was in a prayer session. As we began, a woman asked me which part of the Trinity I most often prayed to. At first it seemed an odd question. Instantly though, I realized it was, without a doubt, Father God. The prayer session following was great. Lots of healing that has stayed with me, etc. etc.…
For weeks though, I couldn’t shake this idea that I so often spoke to God as a Father, yet felt I didn’t really see Him that way. So I started asking Him to help me properly see Him as a Father, a Papa, a Dad. And instantly, I began to.
I began to see that God loves taking His sweet time, even when it is annoying. I think I lost my car keys more times, had more sudden tears from roommates or family or friends, experienced more unexpected traffic, and spilled more coffee in one week than I had in my entire life. I was late to pretty much everything that week, but I finally began to understand the importance of slowing down and being present over being on time and having my act together. I began to see this in the Word too, people “inconvenienced” by interruptions—interruptions much larger than a spilled cup of coffee. Interruptions like a virgin pregnancy (Mary), or putting off your having children until nearly 100 years old (Abraham & Sarah), or building an ark when no one around you believed a storm would come (Noah).
I began to realize that God loves starting unnecessary conversations. Except none of His conversations are unnecessary, they just seemed unnecessary to me when I felt too rushed to stop for someone, too irritated to deal with a question, or too tired to stay and lend an ear. As He slowed me down, conversations opened up with people I had hardly even noticed before. I got to know the man that stood on the corner every afternoon on my commute home and hear stories from the sweet, single mom I’d seen dozens of times cleaning at work.
I began to understand that God loves dad jokes. One day, I grew frustrated with the chaos of my week. The previous day I had spilled coffee down the front of my white shirt at the beginning of work (I told you--SO many coffee spills!) and, feeling insecure and defeated, I was on the brink of a mental breakdown. Naturally, I called my mom to vent about what a terrible life I live. But instead of the anticipated sympathy I heard my mom laugh and say, “SHUT UP! Anni, that’s what I did at work yesterday too! And I had to do parent-teacher conferences all night until 8 pm with a soaking wet skirt that smelled like coffee!” Alright, that’s a terrible joke- almost a kind of bad knock-knock joke. And yet I actually believe that is God’s fatherly sense of humor. I feel so often that is His way of reminding me how small my problems are-- to show me, on the exact same day I’ve blown my tiny problems wildly out of proportion, that I am my mother’s daughter and life—with all its ish—sometimes just happens and we have to be able to laugh and roll forward.
Even better (or worse, depending on how you look at dad jokes), I began to understand that God not only loves dad jokes, He loves PUNS. As I started to dig into the Word more, I came across things that didn’t make sense to me. In Jeremiah 1:11-15, God gives Jeremiah a vision. God asks Jeremiah what he sees, and Jeremiah replies, “I see the branch of an almond tree.” God affirms him by saying, “you have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my Word is fulfilled.” I don’t know about you, but that makes NO sense. Why would an almond branch make sure that God’s word is fulfilled? It is only if you reference the footnotes of these verses that you discover “almond tree” and “watching” sound similar in Hebrew. In Hebrew, the word for “almond tree” is “sha∙ked,” and the word for “watching” is “sho∙ked.” HA. NOT FUNNY. But also… that’s pretty funny (and if we are getting visions from the spirit, incredibly useful). That’s a Dad pun.
Maybe you’ve never had a super awesome role model of an earthly dad. Maybe you’ve never had any role model of an earthly dad. But I challenge you today, if you never have before, to ask Father God to reveal Himself to you as a Father in the most intimate way- in a way that goes even beyond seeing Him as a gift-giver, provider, and protector. I challenge you to see Him in all of His radiant, Fatherly glory… embarrassing humor and all.
The story of my dad getting a "snake" caught in his pant goes something like this:
Once upon a time my uncle and dad were out working in the woods (exaggerated version- 15 miles from the nearest town). All of a sudden-gasp!-my dad felt a snake slithering up his leg (exaggerated version- he felt a viper, rattler, anaconda, cobra, python). From outside his jeans, he grabbed the snake just in the nick of time before it slithered up to his crotch and bit him. Scared and anxious, my uncle ran as fast as he could (15 miles+) back to the house to get a knife (my dad waited with no food or water for hours and nearly died of thirst and starvation). Finally, upon my uncle’s return, my dad slit the neck of the snake through his pant leg and waited until it was surely dead before he let it drop to the ground.
Ta da! It ended up being a lizard. I warned you... not that funny.