Baseball has always been one of my greatest loves. I've enjoyed playing it, watching it, and, in the long winter months, reading about it.
Yet, I have no recollection of my dad ever playing catch with me in the front yard. He never asked which player’s baseball cards were in the pack I bought that day at the Ken Ridge Drug Store. When I played with my town softball team as a kid and looked into the stands of cheering parents, my father was always absent. I will forever be grateful that my dad was eventually delivered from alcoholism. I was blessed to have a deep relationship with him when I was an adult. Yet, alcohol stole him away from me when I was a boy.
As a lifelong Chicago White Sox fan, I remember how, in the late sixties, the Minnesota Twins gave the Sox fits. The star of the Twins in those days was a pudgy guy who hit some long home runs, especially against pitchers who wore White Sox uniforms. He wore number 3. He had a great baseball name: Harmon Killebrew.
When Killebrew passed away a couple years ago, I came across a wonderful quote from him. He said, “My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, ‘You’re tearing up the grass.’ ‘We’re not raising grass,’ Dad would reply. ‘We’re raising boys.’”
A rich man, Harmon Killebrew. No matter how much the Twins paid him, he was a rich man.
But I am too. I may not have had an earthly father who was actively involved in my life when I was a kid. But, as an adult, I have discovered that I have a Heavenly Father who is deeply invested in all that matters to me. He sincerely wants me to do well. He is enthusiastically interested in the things I’m passionate about. And whether I hit a home run or strike out swinging, He is in the stands cheering for me, beaming from ear to ear, shouting 'You're number one!," just because I’m His son.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1, NIV.