TGCA Head of Operations, Sarah Kuswadi, reflects on the comfort of having a loving Father as she races to get everything ready for the National Conference.

I hope that one day you have the honour and pleasure of meeting my Dad. He is a great godly guy: clever, funny, interesting, a hard worker, humble, wise, and fit. He always gets the job done—be it mowing the church lawn, saving a bird that needs rescuing, transporting someone in need of a lift, or looking after someone in need of a chat. I don’t think that he could ever be accused of wasting money—he is too careful. He insists that Father’s Day be a low-key event. He also really enjoys listening to music very loud—our family all reminisce about the select few 1970s bands played in our home on his precious vinyls. He also loves a coffee, and as soon as I hear his fingernails strumming on his mug, I know that he’s got a tune in his head.

I remember being secretly proud that he never said anything embarrassing when we were all packed into his car.

My Dad would generously and uncomplainingly give my friends and me a lift whenever we needed to go somewhere. I remember being secretly proud that he never said anything embarrassing when we were all packed into his car driving to a party, sport or youth group (and let’s face it, he had plenty of material!) He was always interested in what everyone was up to and how their families were—always asking questions of the other people in the car, and never talking much about himself. He is still like this when we talk on the phone, often with familiar music playing in the background.

One early morning he came into the city to collect us when we had gotten ourselves stranded. My friends had all rejected their parents as options, as they would be asleep and wouldn’t want to come out— might not even answer the phone. But I knew, before I even asked, that my Dad would come.

This was in the days before mobile phones were widely used, but he picked up the home phone in three rings, answering, ‘Are you alright, Sarah?’ When I vaguely explained where we were located, he knew exactly where to find us and said to sit tight for a set amount of time. And, to the minute, he was there. He dropped each of my friends’ home, gently asking them about their plans for the following year: no complaints and no criticism of bad choices.

When I read The 5 Love Languages book by Gary Chapman in my mid-20s, it helped me understand my Dad. Before that, I never understood why—just as I was about to leave for uni, Bible study or to catch up with a friend—he would decide that now was the time he was going to do something to my car. Sometimes he would be washing and polishing it; other times, giving the tires a shine or checking the oil. ‘Dad, I need to leave, or I am going to be late,’ I would lament.

Now I know that this was my Dad trying to show his love …his way of saying, ‘I love you, Sarah.”

But, as I drove away in my spotless car, I would wonder about it. Why didn’t he offer kind words of encouragement? Why didn’t he sit with me to watch Friends? Now I know that this was my Dad trying to show his love through his actions and acts of service: it was his way of saying, ‘I love you, Sarah,’ ‘I am proud of the person you are,’ and ‘you are enough.’

My Dad’s own father was an absent dad, but he had an amazing grandfather who gently shaped him, supported him and pointed him towards an ever-loving God. My Dad grew up knowing Jesus, and he still wants everyone he meets to have a small taste of that great love when they meet him.

One time, I was babysitting—probably about 15 years old. It was late at night, and I was in an unusual house, and I heard a strange sound. I completely freaked out. I remember having to re-dial my home number a couple of times as my hands were shaking so much that I hit the wrong number.

But my Dad was there in a flash, and as soon as he arrived, I felt safe. He checked all the rooms coolly and calmly and informed me that it was just a branch that was scraping against the house. Then we sat down and laughed about it together over a cup of tea.

I feel like this situation summarises much of my relationship with my Dad. His priority was to make sure that I was safe, secure, and content. As a child, whenever I felt alone or scared, my Dad was like a warrior protecting me. He was always there with bucketloads of love like a mighty warrior. And his love and protection made it easier for me to believe in a heavenly Father who would do the same for me:

The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. (Zeph 3:17)

These days, I need reminding of that love as I get weighed down by all the things that I need to do; by disappointments; or by my own sinfulness. I need—we all need—to know that our Heavenly Father knows what we need and knows how to show his love to us. If we begin by looking at the love he has shown us through Jesus our Saviour, we will begin to see that his love is at work everywhere:

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things … neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:32, 38-39)

However you celebrate Father’s Day, I hope that you have time to reflect and be thankful for our Heavenly Father, our Mighty Warrior and His great love for us.