August 25, 2015. It’s a little over two months away, and as of right now, that is (tentatively) the day that my life will change. It is a turning point in my life. It is the day that my daughter, Loretta, is scheduled to arrive. The exact date may change between now and then, but I know for a fact that within a few short months from now, everything changes.
Today I’m thinking about that because it’s Father’s Day. It is a day that has never in my life meant as much to me as it does right now. And I don’t say that because I had a bad father or a horrible childhood. My father was a good dad, and we have a good relationship. My childhood was about as good as you can get. I grew up in a loving home with both of my parents, with a younger brother and sister, and we all turned out pretty great.
No, Father’s Day meaning more today than it ever has isn’t about anything being inadequate. It’s about the immensity of what is coming. It’s about the reality that another life is about to be my responsibility, and there is no exit door. It means more because of all the things that are now placed upon me and my wife for this precious little girl. We are her protection, we are her providers, we are supposed to be everything that she needs.
Today, I’m thinking about what it means to be a Father. What it means to be my little girl’s daddy. And, if I am going to be completely honest, I’m scared that I’ll never be enough. I’m unsure if I can measure up to everything that a father is supposed to be. I open up my Bible and I read what is expected and I see the stories of the fathers in the Bible. Truth is, I just don’t think I can measure up.
I see Noah standing against the world and giving his life for so long in order to save his sons from a future that no one, possibly not even his sons, believed in. Do I really have the strength to stand for what’s right and to take care of my daughter no matter what that means?
I see Abraham marching up a mountain with his son, knowing that at the top of it he was going to sacrifice his son Isaac. I read the story and I know he didn’t understand why he was doing it, but he didn’t waiver from what he knew was the will of God. He knew that God’s will would always be best for his son, no matter what that meant. Can I really trust God with my daughter completely? Could I trust Him even if it meant she might be hurt, but knowing He’d take care of her?
I see Job, knowing of the parties of his children, rising early in the morning to make sacrifice because “Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts” (Job 1:4-5). Am I ready to sacrifice my everything, am I ready to rise early and go to bed late praying for my daughter and seeking God that, even when she does err (and she will), that He always be there to forgive and help her? Am I faithful enough myself to have the kind of walk with God that He would look at her with favor because of me?
Its not just the good examples either. I see Lot moving his children deeper into the land of sin and away from God and I know that her safety and her surroundings will be my responsibility. It’s my responsibility to protect her from this world and guide her.
I see Eli and Samuel living great lives of service to God, as priests and prophets, leading God’s people in his ways. Yet, in all the greatness of the lives they lived and the kings and judges that they advised, they made the gravest of mistakes. In 2 Samuel 2:29, Samuel gives the message God gave him for Eli, his mentor, when he says “Why do you kick at My sacrifice and at My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling, and honor your sons above me…?” Yet, even greater than Eli was Samuel’s err in that after seeing the error of his mentor, he committed the same sin in his life. I Samuel 8 shows us the children of Israel demanding a king which was, in part, because of the sins of the sons of Samuel. They were not just rejecting God as their king, but rejecting Samuel and his sons as their leaders. And why did this happen? It was because even though these men had fear and respect for God and His Word, they failed to raise their children to do the same. Could I focus and work so hard on doing the work of the Lord that I fail to teach my own child His ways? Could I focus on saving others so much, that my own daughter ends up lost? God forbid!
I see Lot. Lot was given the choice between one good and another good with his uncle Abraham and he chose the richest fields he saw. But, instead of staying in those fields, he was seduced by the big city life in Sodom and Gomorrah. So he took his family into the world, where they didn’t need to be, causing them to live a life surrounded by such great sin. Can I stand in this world and resist the temptations myself, not just for my sake, but to protect my daughter from this world? Or will I fail like Lot did, leading his family into sin and eventually losing them all for the love of the sinful world they chose.
Even David, who was called “a man after God’s own heart”, failed greatly as a father to his children. So how can I expect to do any better?
Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”. Do I have the faith, strength, courage, and righteousness to always stand for my daughter? To always do right in her eyes? To always be the perfect father that she deserves? Can I be there whenever she needs me? Can I protect her from all harm? Can I love her unconditionally and in every way she needs? Can I always provide for her and care for her?
Or course not. I can never measure up. I can never be all she needs. I’m only a man, and I will fail her. I will fall short. I’ll hurt her at times. I’ll be unavailable when she needs me. I’ll allow my priorities to fall out of place, even if only for a short while. No matter how much I love her, no matter what I do or try, I will do these things because I am just human and I will always fail.
But I know that my daughter will be ok. I know that she will be protected and provided for and taken care of. That even if she is hurt, that it will be ok and that it will work out for her good. I know this because I know that I have a Heavenly Father who has taken care of me every day of my life. Who has protected and provided for me, no matter who else has or has not failed me in my life. And I know that I have placed my daughter’s life in His hands. That I trust Him completely with her, because He will never fail her.
The Bible tells us this:
“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, what shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: ) for your heavenly Father knows that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”
– Matthew 6:25-33
So with that in mind, my prayer is and will continue to be this:
I thank You today. I am so very grateful for the gifts that You have given to me. I thank You for my beautiful wife who I adore, and especially for our daughter. I know that there is nothing I could have done to deserve these blessings and that ,without You, my life would be void. I thank You for the many blessings You’ve given me.
Lord, I pray for wisdom, and strength. I pray that I become the father that You have called me to be for my daughter. I pray that every day of my life You will lead, guide and help me to be the example of Your love that You have called me to be. Not just to fulfill my calling or to show Your people the truth, though those things are important. More than this, I beseech You for my daughter’s sake. Allow me to show her Your love, to train her in Your ways, and to guide her in Your truth. Show me how to teach her to walk in Your truth and love Your commandments.
Even more, Jesus, I pray that You be her Father. I know that the love I feel in my heart is nothing compared to the love You feel for her. I know that the things I would give for her health and her happiness and her well being is nothing compared to the sacrifice You’ve already made on the cross for her. And I know, Father, that no matter how much I love her that I will fail her. But I also know, Jesus, that You won’t. So I pray that every day of her life You will walk right next to her. You protect her from the dangers I don’t see. Provide for the needs I’ll never know. Heal the wounds I can’t fix. Solve the problems too big. Because, God, I love this little girl with a love like I’ve never felt before. For the first time in my life, I understand more how You must feel about me.
For that, Father, I am thankful. Thank You for loving me. Thank You for being my friend when I didn’t deserve it. Thank You for still directing my path even when I rejected You. Thank You for continuing to be the God of my life.
Please, God, please…do the same for my daughter. Show her the love that only You can give through every available vessel…starting with me.
In Jesus Name,