"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline,
and do not lose heart when He rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines those He loves,
and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son."
Hebrews 12:5-6 niv
It's Father's Day. For some it is a happy day...
For others, it's a day that threatens to tear off the scab from a deep heart wound.
I think Father's Day is a day to pray for our men; a wonderful reminder to ask Almighty God to Father our men with His unconditional love as they have never been fathered before. This is a day, possibly to mark the beginning of a year (or even a decade...a generation) of speaking the names of our men before the Throne of Grace with compassion, love, grace and forgiveness.
Now that my sons are grown men, I've become more aware of young families with children. I enjoy seeing young children with their parents and remembering the days gone by.
I notice young dads, young parents in general, seem somewhat reluctant in disciplining their children. In general, dads seem to lack confidence when normal child-like behavior takes over in public places. So, as one who has been there, I feel a responsibility to encourage the young ones coming along behind us - the next generation raising the next generation.
Many times I have offered parents an understanding smile when small children are acting like children in public. If the opportunity arises, I like to offer a word of encouragement to "keep going and don't give up, discipline is for the good of the child and is worth the difficult and painful moments in the long run". I am amazed at the relief these words of encouragement - even a warm smile - bring to young parents.
Yesterday, my husband and I visited our neighborhood pool. My heart was delighted to see so many dads with young children in tow...moms too. I smiled (a lot) watching little girls and boys jump off the edge of the pool into strong daddy arms and ride on daddy backs into the deep end. I especially enjoyed watching the dad, who stood in line with many little ones, take his turn in line for the diving board. Who enjoyed it more...the kids or the man?
However, my heart truly hurt for the big, strong young man who struggled to discipline his strong-willed toddler who continually swatted at his dad, screaming, crying and kicking because dad said it was time to get out of the pool. I admire this young dad even now as I think about his perseverance. He didn't lose his temper; he acted like a "dad" and used calm discipline for the good of his child.
So, why did my heart hurt for him? Though, he was acting as a good dad, his demeanor indicated he lacked confidence in his role as a disciplinarian. He did a great job, but he was obviously embarrassed by his young son's behavior. (Who hasn't been embarrassed by a young child's temper tantrum?) I wanted so badly to walk over to him and tell him, "Good job, dad!", but he wouldn't have been able to hear me. I did catch his eye a time or two and gave him, what I hope was, a reassuring smile.
SO, WHAT CAN WE DO?
What would happen in our men's lives...what would happen in our hearts...if we began today, ladies, to bless our men before the LORD? What if we get on our knees (maybe our faces) before Jesus and confess our offenses toward the men in our lives because they haven't nearly lived up to who we thought they should be for us?
Holy Spirit come and use these words to pierce the dark places of our hearts. Show us where we have harbored offenses. Show us where we have allowed bitterness to take root and grow large like kudzu in our heart gardens.
We repent, Jesus; we choose to turn away from the sin You already defeated in our lives.
Jesus, as we turn to You and allow You to till up our heart gardens, burning away everything which does not look like You, we trust You to sow in this redeemed soil all the seed which eagerly and abundantly bears the fruit of Holy Spirit.
Oh God, You are the best Father! Thank You for growing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in our hearts. And thank You for correcting us, Your children, for our good and so that we will look more and more like You, through Your Son, and by the power of Holy Spirit!
Happy Father's Day to all the fathers!
We bless you to look to your Father in heaven for instruction as you fulfill your responsibilities as a dad and love your children with the love of Jesus.