On Being a Father
“Maleness” is a mystifying and frustrating state, as many females will readily testify. It often drives men to climb dangerous mountains, fight aggressive foes, and pursue a beautiful woman.
But perhaps one of the most daunting, frightening, and fulfilling of male pursuits is fatherhood. Postmodern culture is working hard to downplay the importance of traditional, and more importantly, biblical fatherhood. But its absolute necessity still weighs upon the consciences of men and women alike.
As a boy and young man, I gave no thought to this universal, non-optional truth. My Father worked hard to provide for our family, and, in spite of the negative impact of his own father’s life, he was a spiritual leader to our family. He loved God, God’s Word, and God’s people. He hungered for sound, biblical preaching and talked of spiritual matters and witnessing opportunities around the dinner table. My dad was no spiritual giant, but he did his best, under God, to put Christ and His Word before our family. He was a good example of a simple, hardworking man working to lead his family in the things of God. His life and leadership were flawed but still used of God to guide me to follow Christ. My ignorance of his importance in my young life did not alter the indispensability of it.
My own journey in fatherhood is undeniably linked to my earthly father. As a single man anxious for a wife and family, I longed for and envisioned the life of a godly man – the nearly perfect husband and father. I observed the flaws of others, especially those older, and purposed to avoid those pitfalls. But once children arrived, I discovered that even fatherhood could not escape the effects of my flawed and fallen humanity. My Lord has been gracious to me, having given me a faithful wife and two sons who know and follow Christ. It is not unusual for people to complement me on the good job I have done as a father. But if these years of following Christ and leading a family have taught me anything it is that the grace of God displayed in my sons is more in spite of me than because of me. Every good gift comes from God. There is no room for boasting. Being a father is a great and grave responsibility. Little did I know when I set out on the journey those few years ago. The final chapter is yet to be written, but I envision future generations of my descendants following Christ more committed and more passionate. Who would have thought that a Kentucky coal miner born just before the turn of the 20th century who lived a godless life would have great grandsons who have traveled the globe as ambassadors for Christ? Thank The Lord for my father who turned the tide by the grace of God.
Having recently turned 59 and just celebrating my 30th Father’s Day leads me to bask in the goodness and grace of God. Thanks to a wife who has done a commendable job of turning the hearts of her sons to their father and the providence of God in preserving us thus far, mine is a truly blest life. In the words of Dicken’s Bob Crachet, “I am a happy man. I am a truly happy man.”
To God alone be glory,
[Image courtesy of photographybybritton.com]