“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17
The Scripture tells us, that God Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, and the sustainer of everything that He’s created … is our loving, heavenly Father. Not only ours, but yours and mine individually. That still stops me and makes me ponder the depth, breadth, and width of my Father’s love for me!
What I’ve learned from the Bible is that I was not accepted because of my guilt and shame, but my Father accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for me—He adopted me, and continually acknowledges me as HIS! He loves me with an everlasting love that never fails, and He shows that to me every single day – even through the most difficult challenges and circumstances – and has for the almost 40 years that I’ve walked with Him. He has always been with me and you. He saved me and you. He takes great delight in me and you! He quiets me and you with His love! and He rejoices over me and you with singing! Truly amazing.
I remember when my children were little, how much love God poured out in my heart for them. I delighted in them every single day, with every accomplishment, cheering them on continually. When they were upset, or frustrated, or scared, I quieted them with my love. I rejoiced over them because they were all individuals and unique. And, almost every night, when they were little, I sang over them when I put them to bed, to calm their hearts, so that they would sleep in perfect peace.
God highlighted to me early on, that there are many dads around, but not many fathers. In our culture today, we have the phenomenon of ‘little or no commitment.’ We have people who build relationship with each other, but don’t commit to them. We have unwed mothers and ‘baby daddys’, divorce and ‘Disney dads’; we have a propensity toward control, abuse, and misuse. In so many ways, we are a culture of orphans, who long for the love and care of a true father.
As a father of both daughters and sons, I’ve learned that they need some very different things. A daughter needs the unconditional love, care, and acceptance of her father. If you are the father of a daughter, you will demonstrate to her how a man should treat her, by the love, respect and understanding that you show her, her mother, your mother, and the other women in her life. As the father to a son, he will need to experience the same unconditional love, care, and acceptance of his father, but he will also need a strong role model to show him how to be a man after God’s own heart, a committed provider, protector, and champion – a true father. When they all grow up, they will need our counsel and wisdom from the Word. They will also still need the unconditional love, care, and acceptance of their father. A father who is still always available, standing by to help them when needed. A father who takes great delight in them and their accomplishments, who will still quiet them with His love, and who will still rejoice with them and over them!
One last thing to consider. Our children will follow our example. It is absolutely true that if we “Train a child in the way he (she) should go, and when he (she) is old he (she) will not turn from it.” And through personal observation, I believe it’s also true, that they will learn through “what we say” and “what we do.” I believe the old adage is very true, “more is caught than taught.” Because of that, let’s purpose to be honest, authentic, transparent, and ‘real’ with our grown children. Share your struggles as well as your victories. They will need to know how to win in their struggles against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Show them.
Please pray with me.
Father, thank you for being our example. For fathers, I pray that you would pour out Your love, compassion, and care in their hearts for their wives, children, and in many cases, grandchildren. Pour out Your Holy Spirit on the fathers in our lives who desperately need you and aren’t the fathers that they need to be. Pour out your Holy Spirit on those who are leading their families with You, but need You to give them Your help and heart. Father, move through our families and friends right now to heal the hurts and pain that they have received from their earthly ‘dads’ who did not represent You to them. Father, raise up a generation of fathers with Your heart – men, who will take great delight in following You and loving their families, as their families follow them. In Jesus Mighty Name, Amen!
In His Love,
Vice President, National Day of Prayer Task Force