“You know,” Stan commented one morning while we waited for Ricky to bring our breakfast, “fathers play a huge role in the lives of their children.”
“That’s true,” I replied, “but why do you mention that?”
“I have a neighbor who was talking with me the other day about his dad and the relationship he had with him.”
“Good, bad, or in between?” I asked.
“What he was focusing on was definitely on the less-than-good side,” Stan replied, “but he’s a Christian and doesn’t dwell on the past. He uses what went on before to help him and others in moving forward in Christian maturity.”
“So he wouldn’t mind if you tell me his story?”
“Not at all,” Stan said. “In fact, he encourages it because it’s a part of his personal testimony.”
“In what way?” I asked.
“As my neighbor tells the story,” Stan replied, “early in his married life he called to wish his dad a happy birthday. His mother answered the phone and he spent a few minutes talking with her. Then he heard his mother say to his dad, ‘It’s your son and he would like to talk with you.’ Apparently not knowing that his voice could be heard, his dad said in a cranky voice something like, ‘What’s he want now?’ His mom said, ‘He would like to wish you a happy birthday’.”
“Wow!” I said, “hearing what his dad said must have hurt his feelings, knowing his dad thought he would only call because he wanted something.”
“That’s what my neighbor said,” Stan replied. “He talked with his dad and wished him a happy birthday, but that the conversation was really strained because of his hurt feelings about what his dad had said.”
“Did he say if he told his dad that he had hurt his feelings?”
“I asked him the same thing,” Stan replied, “and he said that’s not the kind of relationship they had. He said that at that time both he and his dad were not Christians, and that his dad passed away before my neighbor came to faith.”
“So it’s likely that your neighbor’s response as a Christian would be different if both of them were alive today,” I commented. “Is that the point of his testimony about this?”
“It is in a way,” Stan replied, “about what a person can miss by not growing up in a Christian home, but the main point he makes is about his relationship with his heavenly Father.”
“In what way?”
“The difference between the response of his earthly father and that of His heavenly Father who never responds to his prayers with, “What’s he want now?!”
“And,” I responded, “I suppose that your neighbor’s story could be used to emphasize that our prayers are not to to be about what we want, but are to focus on what God wants.”
“Good supposition, my friend,” Stan replied with a smile.
Bible verses to consider:
Fathers, do not exasperate your children, that they may not lose heart. Colossians 3:21.
And it came about that while He was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10.
And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done.” Luke 22:41-42.
Prayer: Thank you that you are my loving heavenly Father and that you do not get tired of hearing from me. Please lead me in my prayers so I pray only in accordance with your will, seeking to know you in an ever-deepening personal relationship. You know the limits of earthly fathers and how too often they do not respond to their children the way you intend. I lift each earthly father to you and ask that you would draw them to you and open them to want to know you and all you have for them so that they will call on you as their heavenly Father. Please open them to see, understand, receive, and embrace all you have for them in their roles as fathers. Thank you I can and do bring all of these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted God as your heavenly Father so you know you will spend eternity in His presence when your time here is completed? If no, why? What is in the way? How is (or was) your relationship with your earthly father? If you are a father, how often do you look to your heavily Father for help in being the earthy father He intends for you to be? If you sense the need for change, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?