Joni Eareckson Tada made a powerful point in an interview with Marvin Olasky recently where she said:
When I was a little girl, I remember riding my bike down a steep hill. I made a right-hand turn. My wheels skidded out on gravel and I crashed to the ground. My knee was a bloody mess. My dad comes running out. I’m screaming and crying. Although I didn’t ask why, if I had, how cruel it would have been for my father to stand over me and say, “Well, sweetheart, let me answer that question. The next time you’re going down the hill, watch the steepness, be careful about the trajectory of your turn, be observant of gravel.” Those would all have been good answers to the question, “Why did this happen?” But when people are going through great trauma and great grief, they don’t want to know why. They want Daddy to pick them up, press them against his chest, pat them on the back, and say, “There, there, sweetheart, Daddy’s here. It’s OK.” When we are hurting, that’s what we want. We want God to be Daddy: warm, compassionate, real, in the middle of our suffering. We want fatherly assurance that our world is not spinning out of control
I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am of you! Over the course of 2012 it was my privilege to watch you grow in so many ways. You’ve grown much taller; if the charts are right than you will easily pass me up in height when you are a teenager. Your speech has also grown dramatically. At the beginning of the year you were able to say a few basic things but today we are holding full blown conversations together. I have noticed you reasoning things out with me and I’ve been especially blessed by the kind words you so often speak to your brothers.
While much has changed for you in 2012, there is one thing that still remains true. Micah, you are a great sinner but Christ is a great savior. In many ways this is the essence of the unchanging gospel. It is a recognition of who God is as the good Creator and Savior of mankind and who we are as sinners in desperate need of help. I have been so encouraged by your growing understanding of this message in recent months. Just the other day you were telling me all about how Jesus came and died to save us from our sins. While I don’t think you quite understand all of what this means, my greatest prayer for you this year is that you would come to know Jesus in a personal way and be saved to a life of joy in Him.
2012 was full of many memorable events for us as a family. Several of our friends from Mt. Vernon came to visit with us and to take a trip up to Lake Tahoe. You and Cody went down to Grandma and Nana’s houses for a few weeks this summer and had a wonderful time. Nana and Granddaddy took you to Chick-fil-A as many times as they could and Grandma took you to a water park that apparently had an octopus, which you keep telling me about . You had a great time at VBS and have started another year of Awana as a Sparky. Oh, and who could forget your Auntie Apryl who put in a pool this summer that I think we visited at least a couple of times a week.
Every night I come in to your room, kiss your head and pronounce a blessing over you. I say, “The Lord bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you, be gracious to you and give you peace.” What I want to tell you today, on your birthday, is that the only way that you will ever know this kind of peace is when you come to know the Prince of Peace and His name is Jesus.
With today being Father’s Day I can’t help but take a moment and express how grateful I am to my Heavenly Father for giving me such a godly man as an earthly father. I haven’t written much about my Dad here on the blog, but I do want to take a few minutes to honor him here publicly because so much of who I am is a direct result of the investment that he has made in my life.
My Dad is a really simple guy, he gets up in the morning, goes to work, takes care of his family, serves as a shepherd at his church and that’s about it. He does love playing with new gadgets (that’s probably where I get it from ), right now he’s having a great time with his iPad 2! When I think of my Dad I can’t help but think of 1 Thessalonians 4:10b-11, “But we urge you, brothers, to do this [love one another] more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders…” My Dad lives a very quiet life and yet this quiet life has been one of the most profound influences on the entirety of my life, if for no other reason than the fact that my Dad has always been there:
My Dad was there when I was born, he was the first person to give me a bath.
My Dad was there when I got saved.
My Dad was the man who baptized me, when I was in High School.
My Dad was there for all my graduations.
My Dad was there when I needed to talk to someone about asking Amy to marry me.
My Dad was the man who married Amy and I.
My Dad was there when my first son was born.
My Dad was one of the first people I called when I was in a world of trouble in ministry.
My Dad was there when I was ordained by Emmanuel Baptist Church, he actually preached the ordination service for me (which you can watch below).
My Dad was there when I became the Senior Pastor of my beloved Church here in Cool, CA.
At every major event in my life, my Dad has been there. He is my biggest fan and one of my best friends.
It’s not too much to say that my life and ministry would simply not have been possible if it weren’t for my Dad being there, because by his presence in my life he’s set an example for me of what my Heavenly Father is like who not only cares about all of the great things in the cosmos, but who cares about every detail of His children’s lives.
My prayer this Father’s Day is that I could be the same kind of Dad to my kids, that my Dad has been to me. I love you Dad.
Because the husband is the head of the wife, he finds himself in a position of inescapable leadership. He cannot successfully refuse to lead. If he attempts to abdicate in some way, he may, through his rebellion, lead poorly. But no matter what he does, or where he goes, he does so as the head of is wife. This is how God designed marriage. He has created us as male and female in such a way as to ensure that men will always be dominant in marriage. If the husband is godly, then that dominance will not be harsh; it will be characterized by the same self-sacrificial love demonstrated by our Lord – Dominus – at the cross. If a husband tries to run away from his headship, that abdication will dominate the home. If he catches a plane to the other side of the country, and stays there, he will dominate in and by his absence. How many children have grown up in a home dominated by the empty chair at the table? If the marriage is one in which the wife “wears the pants,” the wimpiness of the husband is the most obvious thing about the marriage, creating a miserable marriage and home. His abdication dominates. – Doug Wilson, Reforming Marriage
Husbands must be aware of two main sinful tendencies. One sinful response of a person in the position of headship is to abuse that position by being heavy-handed, mean-spirited, harsh, and demanding in unloving and selfish ways. God has not given men this authority in our homes for the purpose of gratifying our own pleasures and exploiting the opportunity for our ease and comfort. Rather, such authority must be exercised out of benevolence. A position of headship must be used to promote healing, life, restoration, growth, prospering, and joy.
A second sinful response to our position of headship, though, is far more insidious yet far less obvious. We may respond to God’s call to exert leadership in our homes by abdicating our responsibility. We are not mean-spirited; rather, we’re just no there. We are apathetic, distant, often absent, and altogether uninterested and uninvolved in the spiritual direction of our wives and children. The harm we inflict on our homes through such apathy and uninvolvement can be as painful and wounding as the harm inflicted through heavy-handed selfishness. Here, our wives wilt before our eyes, and our children grow distant as they become more and more attached to peers in a quest for the love, affection, and leadership they lack from their fathers. In both cases, though, husbands and fathers have lost sight altogether of what true biblical headship is to mean for our homes. – Bruce Ware, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
This one made me cry this morning and remember how grateful I am for my three boys. The story gets even better, if you click through and read the rest of the letter.
It’s hard to believe that you are 17 years old today. I woke up this morning wondering what happened to that little red headed boy that used to sleep on my chest at night and ride around on my shoulders everywhere we went during the day.
It seems like only yesterday when your mom came to me with the news that you would be our son. You were so tiny. We named you Jacob, after the grandson of Abraham, the youngest son of Isaac in the Bible; the son who was born small, weak, and insignificant but who was nonetheless chosen by God to be a Patriarch of a nation.
I still have the picture of you nestled inside of my old baseball glove wearing that miniature Cincinnati Reds baseball uniform. I didn’t have dreams of you actually becoming a patriarch, but I was sure you would grow up to be an All Star.
I can remember coming home from work late at night (actually early in the morning), just in time for your 2 AM feeding–getting you out of your crib, warming up a bottle and holding you all to my self. It was one of my favorite times of the day.
There in the peace of the morning, I was so content, just sitting in a dimly lit room watching you watch me–your eyes glued to mine–both of us speaking in deep, father-son conversation, without ever saying a word.
As you lay there on my lap taking your bottle, I would fascinate over your tiny, perfect hands, your smooth white cheeks and your fine strawberry hair. I couldn’t believe that I was a dad and you were my son. I was twenty-five when you were born and it was one of the happiest times of my life.
Then, just after your first birthday, you got sick and had to spend a lot of time in the hospital. Your mom and I were young and scared and didn’t know what to do when you stopped breathing and had seizures. We spent that entire year in hospitals and doctors offices trying to figure out what was causing you to be so sick. No one could give us any answers. No one could help you get better. We cried a lot that year. It was one of the most difficult times of my life.
Then, just as we were about to give up, we found someone who could help. He picked us up off the floor of our hopelessness, held us up with His strong arms, wiped away our tears with His gentle hands, and healed your seizures with His mighty power. He changed our lives forever. His name is Jesus, and you know Him well–for it was you that introduced us to Him.