“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6.4
I officially became a father when I turned 30 years old. His name was Brian and he was part of a “package deal” when I met and married Lane. When we married, Brian was four and a half years old. He was an unplanned surprise and aren’t we glad he came along. Now Brian is twenty eight and married to Chase and they have blessed us with a beautiful little boy, Oliver, who is just eight months old! Who would ever trade the early surprise of Brian for having a wonderful son, daughter-in-law and grandson.
I am also a father to Bailey, a senior at Baylor University and a joy to be around. I see her on a regular basis as I work in Waco and am so blessed that I get to be where my children live. Being around my kids is the light of mine and my wife Lane’s life. Children indeed are a blessing from the Lord!
And yet, I am not a perfect father. Pauls words, “Fathers do no exasperate your children,” is something I have done more than once! I have annoyed them, ignored them and upset them. I have become angry at times because I am in deed human and all fathers are. No father is perfect except our Heavenly Father.
I have an earthly father, Larry, who is a wonderful and loving dad. He poured into me, and continues to do so, encouraging me to be the man God called me to be. And my grandfathers, Daddy Doc who I did not known but baptized me as a baby and left me a legacy of ministry impacted me greatly; and Pop, a dearly loved grandfather who truly helped raised me and died when I was in my forties. I was able to spend decades with Pop and consider him a true mentor and father. I miss him a bunch.
Fathers have been charged by Paul to bring children up in the “training and instruction” of the Lord. It is our responsibility to raise our children in the likeness, fear and love of God. We do the best we can and God does the rest. Fatherhood is not only a joy but its a duty that God has given to us. Our children must be encouraged in knowing and loving Christ, putting him first and walking in the ways that lead to life eternal.
Today, as I reflect upon fathers, I give thanks for mine as much as I give thanks for being a dad. But mostly, I a thankful for God, our perfect Heavenly Father who knows me by name. Who loves me, forgives me and has a place for me this day as well as in heaven. I am saved not by my good works, but by the blood of God’s Son Jesus. It is through him that I have redemption for my sins.
And so I say thank you to fathers. To God as our example and to all the other men in my life who poured into me making me the father I am today.
“O Lord God, you are a good, good Father. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for a loving father and mother and for allowing me to walk in the way that leads to life eternal. Thank you for your forgiveness! For your love and grace! I am in need of this each and every day. Thank you for allowing me to know you and to seek your face. I pray for my children that they might chase after you Jesus and know the true love of the Heavenly Father. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen