A father is someone who is supposed to love you, protect you, provide for you and guide you and most importantly, be an example to their children, of giving, compassion and forgiveness. That’s a pretty tall order, when you stop to think about it. I think, as a father, that there have been times when I have displayed all of the qualities, but there are also far too many times when I have not.
Of course, the times that I have been a good father don’t really bother me, it is the times, when for a hundred different reasons, some of which I understood and some of which I did not understand, I failed to be the example that I could have been, should have been. Those are the times that do bother me and I wish that I could undo and redo, so many things that have happened in the past.
It’s hard to plot a course for someone else, when the example you have been shown is lacking and the course that you have set for yourself is faulty. It’s hard to love, when you haven’t been loved. It’s hard to forgive, when you haven’t forgiven and it’s hard to fill all the needs of a child, when your own needs are still empty.
As a father I loved, but I didn’t love enough.
As a father I forgave, but I didn’t forgive enough.
As a father I showed compassion, but I didn’t show it often enough.
As a father I shared, but I didn’t share myself enough.
As a father I tried, but I didn’t try hard enough.
And now, in my final years, as I look back and consider things that I did as a father, some good and some not so good, I can comprehend some of the reasons for why I did, what I did.
In Mark 10:17-18 NASB the following is stated: “As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do so that I may inherit eternal life?” But Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.” (Emphasis is mine)
This is Jesus, the Son of God, correcting a rich young ruler, about calling Him good. Seems kind of odd, doesn’t it? But it’s not odd at all. In fact, it could be no other way. You see, throughout the Scriptures we see numerous instances when God the Father testified that He loves His Son (Matthew 3:17) and we see Jesus, being obedient to the Father (John 5:19), because Jesus loves His Father. Jesus was telling us, all of us, that His Father is the source of all goodness. That was what He was indicating, and even though Jesus was God, He as the Son was willingly subservient to His Father (John 14:28), in all that He said and all that He did.
As a young man, I lacked a guiding connection with my heavenly Father, made possible through Jesus the Son. And even when I became a Christian in my mid twenties, after getting married and our five children started arriving, my connection to my heavenly Father, the source of all goodness, was not as it should have been, because I still trusted in me, rather than Him. My reasoning still fought for supremacy, my needs fought for first place and my wounds, that I had experienced as a child, still needed to be healed. So there I was, the unhealed, trying to heal, the unguided, trying to guide and the unloved, trying to love.
I know what you’re thinking. But God does love you, He will guide you, He has and will heal you. All of that is true, but I had not comprehend that reality. I believed in Jesus but I still had not understood the need to trust Him, follow Him, seek from Him, all that I needed, as a man, as a husband and as a father.
The truth of the matter is that we can only have one source, that being ourselves, or our reliance in God, the source of all goodness. Jesus, as the Son of God, knew that, but I didn’t.
Remember how I said I wish that I could undo and redo, so many things that have happened in the past? Well guess what? It still happens today. Not anything like it used to be, but I am still not good, not like my heavenly Father is good. I am still learning to trust, still learning to follow God’s ways and thoughts over my own.
Remember how Jesus told us not to call anyone on earth Father (Matthew 23:9)? “And do not call anyone on earth your father; for only One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” (Emphasis is mine) One source, only one source, always the same source. Only our heavenly Father is good. It is the way that it is. It took me a long time to comprehend this and make no mistake, I am still in the process of comprehending, but I do have that connection now. I do so wish I had it away back then.
So here is the blessing, from one totally inadequate father, to all the human fathers out there, and it comes from one Scripture verse which reads as follows from Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.”
Had I comprehended, had I truly considered, had I trusted and had I endeavoured to follow God’s guidance, the source of all goodness, so much sooner than I did, my children would have seen and experienced a much different father and my wife a much different husband. And trust me, comprehending this truth is indeed a blessing.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!