For some reason I have always had mixed emotions on Fathers Day. On the one hand I have been incredibly thankful and grafeful for the father God has given to me and full of joy over the children given to Diane and me, but on the other hand I’ve felt a growing sense of my own inadequacy as a father. This tension has increased through the years as I have become more aware of God’s goodness contrasted with my weakness.
Let me share just a few things that I have come to realize:
- The truth is, I tend to be a determinist. I would probably never have admitted this and it would certainly have conflicted with my Theology—but practically it has been true. Since I work so hard at being the perfect father, I end up having expectations that God should respond with perfect kids (if I do my part, He should do His). When struggles come I tend to get frustrated with God. In time, what I find is that my view of God is full of dross and that it isn’t really going to get purged and forged in my heart until it comes under the fire of testing. God is still at work in ways that I cannot see or understand, and is more sovereign than I can possibly comprehend. The struggle brings me back to a right view of God and into concert with his working.
- I may be talented and have read a lot of books, but STILL, I am not equal to the task of fatherhood and I never will be. After a right view of God, brokenness is where I find myself. Humility is the soil in which all the other graces grow. Grace is the means. Faith is the exercise. Prayer is the access to His working. That is how I have come to the conclusion that, when it comes to fatherhood, the greatest work I will ever do will be on my knees.
- Now my kids are teaching me more than I am teaching them. We have had a lot of discussions in our home about how we live the Christian life. There have been a number of things that I once believed and taught my children that have been challenged over time. Theology and principles have remained the same, but many of my rigid applications were found wanting. This discovery was really uncomfortable. When they ask honest questions what are you going to do? Be honest. Go to the Word. I have changed a lot over the past ten years—in good ways! I thank my children and many of the young people I serve for that. God has used them to teach me.
- Grandkids are more joy and multiplied weight. We go through the processes all over again but in a different role. We speak and attest to the goodness, greatness, and faithfulness of God. Future generations are coming. It’s not over.
This Father’s Day may we joy in the fullness of the Father as he is expressed in His Son.