Excerpt from Geek and Ye Shall Find: Devotions for Nerds, Geeks, and Dorks Everywhere by Ellen Elliott
Our Father — Star Wars
“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!”
1 John 3:1
Ah, the ol’ Star Wars chapter.
Betcha think I’m gonna compare the Force to the Holy Spirit, eh?
Au contraire, mon frère. This ain’t no Force chapter.
For one thing, I’m a rebel like that. For a deux thing, the Force–Holy Spirit comparison has already been done.
No, I’m going to write about daddy issues.
When I was a kid, my father took me to the movie theater to see Star Wars: Episode VI— Return of the Jedi.
A quick aside about my poor father here: He was born the youngest child, with two older sisters, no brothers. He married a woman with two sisters, no brothers. Then he proceeded to sire three daughters, no sons. Even our dog, Betsy Lou, was female. My father’s world had a sad lack of testosterone, but he did the best with what he had. He sat through terrible ballet recitals, listened to the Annie soundtrack on repeat, and even allowed us to decorate his mustache with bows while he tried to read the newspaper.
Sometimes, when the man just couldn’t take any more tutus, he would grab a daughter and head out for a Daddy/Daughter Day of motorcycle shopping or synchronized growling. That’s probably why he ended up hauling his eldest daughter, who had no prior knowledge of anything remotely Star Wars, to sit in a movie theater on a school night.
I was enthralled by the new cinematic world opening before my eyes. I didn’t know what an Ewok was, but by golly, I wanted one.
Even more than being enthralled by the movie itself, I was fascinated by my father’s explanations and storytelling. In between eating Jujyfruits, he would periodically whisper the Star Wars backstory to me: why Han Solo was frozen in carbonite, what a Boba Fett was, and why that one guy had only one hand.
Honestly, we could have been watching a documentary about strawberry jam and it would not have changed my glee. My dad wanted to spend time with me. I felt special.
Have you ever read the book Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss? It’s a fun little book, filled with simple rhyming phrases. On one page, Pat is being instructed not to sit upon “that” (“that” being a large cactus. Oh, silly Pat!). On another page, Mr. Brown is leaving town for some reason. I don’t know where he goes, but he comes back with Mr. Black. Honestly, the book doesn’t have a lot of continuity, but I still have mad love for Hop on Pop.
In one scene, two children gleefully jump up and down on their sleeping father’s belly. They happily announce that they like to hop. On top of their Pop. And they do. Though their grumpy daddy sternly chastises them for the aforementioned hopping, you’ll notice that he doesn’t actually do anything about it. It’s like he’s just kinda accepted that he’s Pop, and he’s gonna get hop-ons.
Whenever I read that page (out loud, in my biggest, booming-est voice), I’m struck that we all need a good Pop to rely on. Someone to guide us. Someone to teach us. Someone we can hop on when life seems overwhelming. We need a Pop.
Sadly, though, some of us did not have good fathers.
Let’s take Luke Skywalker, for example. What a lousy dad Darth Vader was.
First, before Luke was even born, his daddy went nutso dark side. In fact, after his mom’s death, Luke was hidden on a distant barren planet just to keep him safe from his own father. Then after Luke rescues his sister from their dad’s evil clutches, Vader kills off Luke’s beloved mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Darth Vader follows up by destroying everything in Luke’s wake and freezing his best friend. He even chops off his own son’s hand.
Yes, Darth Vader eventually saves Luke’s life, and they reconcile before his death, but before that, Vader spent most of his life setting up his kids for a load of therapy. It was one big, dysfunctional family mess.
But not unlike some of our own.
Man, some awful fathers are out there. All you have to do is watch the nightly news and you’ll be presented with a plentitude of bad daddies:
- fathers who steal
- fathers who hurt their babies
- fathers who are emotionally abusive
- fathers who are sexual predators
- fathers who care more about drugs than their families
- fathers who kill their own kids
- fathers who leave and never come back
- fathers who were never even there to begin with
With so many rotten fathers, is it any wonder that so many people struggle with the concept of a loving heavenly Father?
When I was at an age to begin forming a mental image of who God is, it wasn’t too hard for me to make the leap from what I knew of earthly fatherhood to what my heavenly Father was like. My own dad certainly had his fatherly flaws, as does every dad, but I never once doubted that he loved me. His character was kind, gentle, and wise. He listened to me. He liked me enough to take me to a sci-fi movie, explain the plot, and fill my tummy with Jujyfruits.
I now know what I had was rare. Many, many people compare their Darth Vader–like father to our heavenly Father’s character, which could not be further from the truth.
If you didn’t have a kind, loving father, I just want to say I’m so sorry. Sometimes life is cruddy and unfair that way, and we have to grieve those big losses in our lives.
Thankfully, we don’t have to figure out God’s character on our own. We have the Bible to show us the character of our heavenly Father, who created us and loves us to His very core.
Our Father is kind. “The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13).
Our Father is patient. “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” (2 Peter 3:9).
Our Father is loving. “His unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth” (Psalm 103:11).
Our Father is fiercely protective. “The LORD says, ‘I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name’ ” (Psalm 91:14).
Our Father is gentle. “He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young” (Isaiah 40:11).
Another character trait of our heavenly Daddy is that He is a provider. In Philippians 4:19, Paul reassures us that “this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” No matter your losses, God can provide for you.
Consider again Luke Skywalker. His dad made some lousy choices. Darth Vader chose to go wreak havoc all over the galaxy instead of loving and investing time with the people in his life. Luke was left an orphan because of it.
Luke was not left alone. He was not left fatherless. He was provided men (and even a small, green, backward-talking alien) who raised and mentored him. His Uncle Owen. Obi-Wan Kenobi. Yoda.
And you’re not alone either.
You may have lost some big dreams. Someone else’s sin or neglect might have left a big Jabba the Hutt–size hole in your soul. But if you cry out to God, He can and will fill those holes, sometimes in surprising ways.
Trust Him and see what He does.
GEEK AND YE SHALL FIND, Copyright © 2019 by Ellen Matkowski. Used by permission of Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 97408. www.harvesthousepublishers.com
Ellen Elliott is a gifted illustrator who enjoys working in a variety of mediums from acrylic and watercolor to collage and digital. Her work has been featured in several children’s books and gift products. An art graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, Ellen lives in Arkansas with her two well-behaved kids and a rude cat. Learn more at TheReignofEllen.com
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