For a while now, my son Guy and I have a little routine we go through when I’m putting him to bed. I lay down with him, we talk and pray, and I scratch his back. Then, when I’m leaving, he’ll say, “I love you! You’re the best dad I could ever have!” Then I’ll say, “I love you buddie! You’re the best son I could ever have!” His little sister, Reese, has even chimed in with her limited vocabulary with “You’re the best I have,” which adds some humor to the routine since it sounds like she’s just settling for me. Those moments are so special to me, and I will always remember them.
Yet, each night when our bedtime routine gets to this point, I get the same nagging feeling. There will come a time in my son’s life when he will begin to notice all of my flaws that have been there his entire life. He will realize that, I’m really not this super-dad who can do no wrong. I will let him down one too many times, and on some night – hopefully later than sooner – our bedtime routine will change.
I pray that he will see that God is the only One who will never fail us. He is the only One who will never forsake us.
While I know that night will leave me a little sad, I’m also kindof looking forward to it. You see, one of the things Connie and I have been trying to teach our children is that God will never fail or forsake us. The day my son’s bedtime routine changes is the day that I will no longer hold that place in his life as the one who can do no wrong, who will never fail him. It is the moment that I pray will make the truths about God all the more clear to my son. I pray that he will see that God is the only One who will never fail us. He is the only One who will never forsake us. He is the ultimate Super-Dad. It is why Jesus taught us to pray, saying “Our Father…”
You might be on the other end of the spectrum from my son. You might have realized that your father isn’t perfect a long time ago. Maybe you’ve been really hurt by your father, to the point where the idea of a father is something that hurts you. Maybe you’re afraid of your father.
I encourage you, look at the scriptures. Look at the ways that God has, over the years, proven Himself faithful over and over again. Consider Psalm 68:5-6, where David writes “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lowly in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing.” Or Romans 8:15 says, “for you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”
Even Jesus, in Matthew 6:26, spoke about His Father and how He sees us: “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Jesus calls His Father our Father.
While it’s just fine to look up to people we admire, it is God who must always take the highest place of adoration in our lives. He is the only truly perfect father.
The truth is that we all, in one form or another, place those close to us on these spiritual pedestals. We place these unreasonable standards on mere fallen humans and expect them to never screw up. While it’s just fine to look up to people we admire, it is God who must always take the highest place of adoration in our lives. He is the only truly perfect father. Anyone else will fail miserably and fall from the high place we put them. But God never will! What a privilege it is to be able to call God our father!
While I know that one day my son will realize I’m not “the best,” I also know that there is One who is the best in every way, and who will never leave or forsake my son. He will always be faithful in everything, and will work all things for my son’s good. It’s something I want him to know now, when I can still do no wrong in his eyes. You see, these are the kinds of things that we should be telling our children all the time. While they can be truths that come and offer consolation in times of sorrow, they are so much more than that. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). It means that He is the same in all circumstances. He will be there for my son in times of joy, and in times of sorrow. So it’s something that I’m going to make sure he knows now.
So today, I am thankful that I am a father, and I am thankful for my father, but I am most thankful for my heavenly Father. He is the best Father my son could ever have.