And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers… (Malachi 4:6, CSB)
With Father’s Day coming up this weekend, I am taking a break from addressing the current issues of the day to reflect upon fatherhood and to celebrate fathers, especially my father who remains to this day, my hero who I think about and miss every single day.
The world needs good fathers. In the not-too-distant past, this would be an unremarkable and noncontroversial statement, but today it is likely to offend many who will protest derisively, but I will stand by my statement because much of the trouble that we are in today is because too many men have not fulfilled their responsibilities as fathers.
We can gauge the importance of fathers in many ways but one of the most effective is to notice how much effort is being put forth by Satan and the world to trivialize or even demonize the role of fathers. Fathers and the role of father are deemed to be nonessential by the media and Hollywood, but this flies in the face of the evidence that shows that when a father is present in the home, children are less likely to live in poverty or end up incarcerated.
Furthermore, godly fathers are more valuable than any earthly treasure. Godly fathers are a role model so that children can understand how much their heavenly father cares about them. Children with godly fathers are more likely to perceive their heavenly father as good, whereas children without a father in the home or a father who is abusive will struggle to accept God as a good God.
I am blessed; I could not have asked for a better father. He was not perfect (no one is) but there was never any question that he loved God and that he loved me. He disciplined me and although at the time I did not appreciate it, I realized later that it was for my own good and because he loved me. I have stated many times that there has not been a moment in my life when I did not know that I was loved, and my father was one of the reasons why I can make that declaration.
I could tell you many stories of what my father meant to me, however, the greatest gift that he gave me was the example that he set; first of all, as a man who loved God with all of his heart and who devoted his life to serving kingdom purposes. Secondly, the way he loved and honored my mother. For myself and my brothers and sisters (as well as many other people), my father modeled what a godly husband and father should be, and it was a great benefit for all of us.
My father had character which went to the very core of his being. He was consistent and faithful, and it is my desire to be just like him because he wanted to be just like Jesus. His love for God was the foundation upon which he built his life and in his last years, even while struggling with vascular dementia, his true heart would still shine through. Amid the periods of confusion and frustration, I remember reading to him from the Bible, particularly the Psalms, and he would light up and respond with joy. The illness robbed him of his ability to articulate, but it could not destroy what he was in his spirit and soul.
My heart goes out to those who do not have an experience with their fathers like I had with mine and I know that I owe so much to him. My father’s influence extended far beyond his immediate family and undoubtedly many reap the rewards from his example.
On this Father’s Day, let us remember to honor our fathers or their memories and it is my prayer that where fathers and children are estranged that there would be reconciliation. We plead with God as Malachi did “to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers,” because if we refuse, God has declared that “he will come and strike the land with total destruction.”
On Mother’s Day we tend to honor mothers whereas on Father’s Day we challenge fathers. We must be ready to accept the challenge because The World Needs Good Fathers. We do not have the ability to do this on our own, but God is faithful and if we call upon Him, He will answer and if we humble ourselves and seek him, he will come and heal our land. Amen!
(The photo above was taken in 1958 of my dad, George and myself.)