The Gift of Fatherhood
God created the universe as a Father, and on all of creation we still
see the imprinted stamp of fatherhood. Paul said, ďI bow my knees to
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in
heaven and earth is named.Ē (Eph 3:14-15). It is interesting to
note that the Greek word for family translated is patria. This word
is derived from pater, the Latin word, meaning father. Think about
it, ďfrom whom the whole (family-Father) in heaven and earth is
named.Ē That thought leaves us with the knowledge that fatherhood
came from heaven. It was not an earthly idea after the creation of
Adam. The Father-Son relationship existed before the creation of
this world. Jesus, the Word, was with God before all time. (Joh
The only true God cares for all of His creation in a loving, Fatherly
manner. Jesus came to reveal to mankind His Fatherís love and to
offer us the invitation to become part of His eternal family. (Joh
17:26; I Joh 4:16). Jesus desires us to be reconciled to our
heavenly Father so that we can become the children of God. (Mt
11:27; Joh 14:6).
I became a Christian when I was seven years old. No one in my family
was a Christian, nor had there ever been one as far back as anyone
could remember. One day, a knock came at our door and I peered
around my motherís skirt at the robed man standing on our doorstep.
He asked if anyone in our family would like to come to his church.
My heart jumped and I piped up with ďI want to go, Mama!Ē At that
point in time I had an earthly father, but when I walked alone
through the doors of that Lutheran church, I felt a spiritual
covering come upon me that was unlike anything I had experienced on
earth. I literally cried in the pew as I talked to my Heavenly
Father. I attended every Sunday I could, and one day a born-again
Sunday school teacher led me in the prayer of salvation as I gave my
heart to Jesus Christ. Never had I known such peace and joy.
Five years later, when my earthly father was killed in an accident,
I heard the words in a lone sheep pasture later that afternoon, ďNow
I will be your Father.Ē A few hours later when I climbed through the
barbed wire fence, I left that pasture with inner peace that could
not be explained in earthly terms.
In todayís world, more than ever, there is a great need for committed
Christian fathers to take their place in childrenís lives to guide
them onto the path of Godís calling. (Eph 6:4). To be a godly
father is the greatest calling available upon a manís life. You
represent God to your children. It can be in a positive or negative
manner, but nevertheless you will represent God to them. If your
commands are reasonable and loving, your child will have an
encouraged spirit. If your habits are good, your children will
develop good habits. When you bless your children daily, you will
encourage them to keep Godís ways. Children need fathers who
genuinely love God, and they can always tell if you really do,
because they see the real you every day. (Deut 6:5).
The Bible instructs fathers to teach their children diligently ďwhen
you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down,
and when you rise up,Ē (De 6:7). In order to do this kind of
teaching, you need to be involved with your children. Fathers need
to work with their children, study with them, eat with them, and play
The Bible promises that when the fatherís hearts are turned to their
children, the childrenís hearts will be turned to their fathers.
(Mal 3:17). If you take the time to do this, your children will turn
their hearts to you, and ultimately to Father God. Our
Heavenly Fatherís plan is to do great things in the lives of children
through ordinary fathers who are committed to God.
William Smartís daughter, Mrs. Dodd, of Spokane, Washington, got the
idea for Fatherís Day in 1909 while listening to a Motherís Day
sermon at her church. She encouraged local churches to celebrate
fathers the next year on Sunday, June 19, the date of her fatherís
birthday. Her father, William Smart, was a widower in the 1800ís who
lovingly raised his six children after his wife died giving birth to
the youngest. The holiday was made permanent in 1972 when President
Richard Nixon signed a presidential resolution that made the third
Sunday in June officially Fatherís Day in the United States.
Early Jewish fathers were diligent in instructing their children in
the ways and words of God for their own spiritual development and
well-being. (Eph 6:4). The Christian father is the training
instrument to teach the child, through the Bible, how to fear, love,
and honor God. Children love to learn by imitating their fathers.
My husband loves to whistle, and many times I have heard our children
whistling. Remember that it is not what you say, but what you do that
will impress on their young spirits the ways of life. There is
nothing that touches a childís spirit more than to have their father
intercede for them in prayer and to call out the good things that are
in them. Our children love their nightly prayer huddle when their
father prays over them.
God created fathers to stand tall before their children so they would
have someone to look up to, and pattern after. He gave them tender
hearts for their children, but also the ability to discern and judge
fairly. He made their hands large enough for children to feel
protected in and to open up to. He gave them strong shoulders to
carry them, and big feet to display shoes that will cause growth to
fill. Little boys love to shuffle around the house in their fatherís
God gave a heavenly order for the family. In the Bible, Father God
gave commands, and Jesus carried out His will and commands. (Joh
12:49-50). Jesus learned obedience. Children need to learn
obedience and that is something that has to be taught in the home.
Love and discipline walk hand in hand. One of the hardest points of
transitioning our newly adopted older children into our home has been
to set the lines of acceptable conduct, and to firmly, with Godís
love, help them come into those lines. When they do come into the
lines, they experience a peaceful security that is visible in their
After we brought our ten-year-old daughter, Faith, home from China,
she later told me, ďWhen I first saw Papa, I thought to myself, ĎHe
is the biggest person I ever saw!íĒ It wasnít long before she was
the apple of her fatherís eye. It didnít take any time for her to
find out that anything that needed fixing, her father could do it.
When the studies came for school, he was the one who had the best
help for her. When he speaks, she listens with ears to hear. As a
teenager, her father lovingly told her that He would hold the boys at
bay until she was of age to marry or enter her mission field. There
was a struggle at first, but then Faith decided to make a covenant
with God not to date. With that promise fulfilled, she is now
confidently planning a marriage this summer with her father
officiating as a blessing upon the union.
Our communities desperately need committed Christian fathers who will
pastor their families, and also orphans, as God intended! (Jas
1:27). Ravi was a small boy from a poor area of BogotŠ, Columbia.
His mother died when he was three years old. A month after her
death, Ravi, while looking for food, noticed his father cutting up
bananas. He asked for some, but His father refused and became angry.
When the little boy pleaded for one small bite, his father jumped up
and stabbed his sonís neck, and then slit his throat twice. Neighbors
found the dying child and took him to a hospital where he
miraculously survived. Ravi was placed in an orphanage. For two
years he barely spoke and showed signs of trauma and mental
disturbance. Then a man and his wife decided to adopt Ravi.
The man was warned not to adopt Ravi by his own father.
A psychologist friend counseled him that Ravi would have physical,
mental, and emotional injuries as a result of what had happened, and
would show signs of that trauma the rest of his life. But the man
and his wife believed that any child could flourish in spite of
having had to endure the most horrifying circumstances. Though the
father had never seen Ravi in person, he looked forward to adopting
him as his son.
The day came when they went to pick up little Ravi at the airport.
The husband and wife waited impatiently while hundreds of people
cleared customs and immigration. The father recalls, ďI recognized
our contact person emerging from the crowd. He held the hand of this
thin little boy whose dark brown eyes rapidly scanned the lines of
waiting people. I leaped over the ropes, knelt directly in the path
of this youngster and reached out my hands to him. He smiled at me.
He knew! Then he lunged forward and jumped into my arms. I loved him
from the very first instant.Ē
For the first six months, Ravi held on to his fatherís leg as if to
anchor himself. He didnít talk much, even in Spanish. Through the
years, this little guy developed into a fine athlete and honor
student. In 1991, Ravi gave a speech in an auditorium filled with
his classmates and was elected president of three grades A fatherís
love presented this child an opening to inspire others.
God chose Abraham so that he would direct his children. (Ge 18:19).
God chose Raviís father, and God chooses you to direct your family,
and also children who are orphans. The presence of committed
Christian fathers is crucial to the moral, social, and spiritual
progress of our communities. Fatherhood is a God thing!