Father’s house retreat: life is like ice skating

Last Sunday, I went to the Mystique Ice Rink to skate during their open skate times. I’ve picked up ice skating with a determination to get better at it, but also because it’s just nice to cruise around the rink on Sundays. If you’ve ever been there, you’ll be accustomed to seeing the little kids flying around the rink who are significantly more coordinated and daring than I am. They have no fear of falling, because to them it’s quite fun, and it’s a shorter way to the ground when you’re five years old than when you’re 23. Then, in a simple moment came a little inspiration. I went to one of the side benches to adjust my skates and watch the skaters for a little bit. As I sat there, a father and his little boy went by. Naturally, it was adorable. The little boy was probably three or four years old, wearing his tiny hockey skates, a tiny Hawkeyes jersey, and helmet. He had one of those little walkers in front of him. His dad was behind him slightly holding onto the boy’s shirt. This dad was obviously very confident on the ice and used his legs to guide the walker along and probably to push the little boy a bit faster. The boy was perfectly surrounded, and as he pushed along on his little skates, I never saw him hit the ground. I laughed on the bench, thinking, “God, that’s how I feel right now.” God the Father is guiding me through life. Even when I don’t always feel like pushing along, He is practically carrying me around the ice. Sometimes, I think I’m moving along pretty well, when in all honesty, He has me constantly surrounded, ready to pick me up next time I fall, and probably watching me with that Fatherly smile on His face and chuckling at me with great affection as I start to become more daring in my steps in the world.

Our relationship with our Heavenly Father can feel a lot like this moment. Sometimes, He lets go for a little while so we can figure out how to skate a bit better, but He’s always there to pick us up when we fall. A friend of mine in college once said that when a dad is teaching his child to swim, he starts out by holding him up and having him float and kick his feet. Then, after a while, the dad lets go and the child might feel like he’s drowning, but if he keeps kicking, he’ll get the hang of it and start swimming. Yet, we all know that a loving father wouldn’t let his child drown. We know this to be true of a good earthly father. How much more must our Heavenly Father love us and want to give us good things! Yet, how often do we doubt His goodness? Either we’ve had poor experiences with our earthly fathers, or we see the struggles of other people’s families, or we just don’t want to believe that He loves us as much as He says He does because we’re terrified He’ll let us down. Yet, our Heavenly Father’s love is all-encompassing and everlasting, and “His ways are above our ways” (Isaiah 55:8-9). He gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us with faith and strength. He gives us His Son so we can be adopted into His Family and learn the art of living a holy life. We are God’s children. That’s what our Baptism means!

This weekend our team is helping host a Father’s House Retreat in Wisconsin Dells and all are welcome to join. Whether you just need a weekend away with friends or you’re struggling with faith and life, I invite you to come with us. This retreat is focused on our relationship with God the Father and how we find our identity in Him alone. Our team and UW-Platteville’s FOCUS team will be giving the talks, alongside small group and prayer time with other Loras and FOCUS campus students. Talk to one of the missionaries or go ahead and sign-up online at www.focusoncampus.org/retreats.

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