I already have tears in my eyes when I just say the word, "Daddy." So many memories come sweeping through my mind. I am a visual person, so my thoughts are also pictures, videos if you will, of times I spent with my Daddy. Some memories include sitting on his lap and trying to breath in the same rhythm as he did. I remember him spending countless hours in our front yard trying to grow grass in the hard Arizona desert clay. He was the "cool preacher" that went out and recon-ed amazing day camps for our young people's church group during the summers. I remember two of his three returns from Viet Nam. He looked awesome in his uniforms! I remember that terrible haircut I got just a week before senior pictures and how he let me sit on his lap and cry-again. I like to remember the caring, loving times because I know that above all else, my Daddy loved his children. There were five of us, but he was known to say that he wouldn't give away any of us. He served his country with honor and zeal, he served his Lord Jesus with honor and zeal, and he led his home with honor and zeal.
Was he perfect? I suppose not. I choose not to remember the imperfect times because God was always so evident in his life that any imperfections were covered by grace quickly.
Lately my mind has been really camping on the role of Daddies in our society. I don't watch sit coms for many reasons, but one big reason is the way men are portrayed. Have you noticed? Spineless, whipped, beer-dependent idiots. Men who do stand up for Christ are usually seen as predators or radicals in the media or in shows or movies. With so many absentee fathers out there, it is no wonder our sons are confused about their roles.
Dads, the way you treat your children is going to be their view of the Heavenly Father. Do you understand that? Think about the meaning behind these verses:
It was natural for Jesus to liken the way we see our earthly fathers to the way we can view our heavenly Father.
Consider this: "And fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord," Ephesians 6:4 and "Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so they won’t become discouraged." Colossians 3:21.
It would be a heavy burden to know that your children may have a harder time walking to the cross because of something we have done. Let me ease our guilty minds a little here by saying that this certainly is not referring to one (or a few) moments of out of control-ness. Jesus and Paul are referring to habitual actions that anger children and turn their hearts away from their dads. Out of control tempers, alcoholism, neglect, passive fathering, spiritual dehydration, emotional distance, you fill in the blanks.
My Daddy was not a perfect man. If he were still here, he would tell you this himself. But he was known for trying to serve Christ each day, each moment, of his adult life. He sought out the Lord and His ways, and in Dad's imperfection, he paved the way for his children to seek that same Lord. I have had the blessing of returning as an adult to some of the places he pastored when I was a child. People have told me:
"I still have notes in my Bible from your Dad's sermons."
"What I know about Scripture, I learned from your Dad."
"I still remember the things he taught us in Mission Workshop."
"All the sermons Granddad ever preached are right up there on that shelf."
The enemy of our souls really wants to take our families and make them into something different from God's plan because then it will be harder for our children and grandchildren to find Christ and eternal life. Take it seriously! I am SO GLAD my Daddy did! I hope my heart beats in time with his...and HIS.