Before I launch into this post, I must apologize for being MIA over the last few weeks. Between wrapping up our school year and taking our family vacation, my writing time has been severely limited. Lord willing, I will continue the series on “Teaching the Truth With Love” next Friday!
Last week, my family visited Arches National Park for the first time. What I treasured most about this trip was not the awesome landscapes, but something far more priceless: a deepening trust and affection between my husband and our children.
The above photo was taken on our first hike. We ascended the somewhat steep trail to Delicate Arch—one of the most famous landmarks in Utah—and two of my three children wanted to skirt the basin and in order to stand beneath the arch.
Being terrified of heights, I offered to take pictures from my safe spot across the basin. My spouse, being far more adventurous, gladly guided the kids to the base of that world-famous arch. Apparently, when my son saw the steep drop on the other side, he gripped his father’s arm like a vice, but I saw no trace of fear on that little face when he met me back at the viewing point.
The confidence of all three children grew as the week progressed. They scrambled over more rocks to the base of various Arches with the help of their father while I stood below taking pictures. On another tricky trail, he helped each of us cross a rushing stream multiple times and gave us strong support as we clambered over a tricky rock face. (I am NOT very brave when it comes to these things! Yeah, I admit it, I needed almost as much help as the kids… if not more!) In every excursion, he was the carrier of extra water, the giver of snacks, and the strong, steady guide.
Watching him as he gently guided the kids across flowing streams, or steadying them a strong hand as they scrambled over rocks provided a vivid picture as to God’s loving care of His children.
Even though each of us has the opportunity to glorify God—whether male or female, married or single—Fathers have a unique opportunity in this regard. They are supposed to protect, guide, and provide for those in their care. When this is done well, they are imitating the Heavenly Father, illustrating His powerful love for us as His children.
When this is done poorly, it not only harms the child physically, mentally, and emotionally, but also has the potential to distort their view of our perfect Heavenly Father.
A father who follows the footsteps of Jesus and guides his children to do likewise is a priceless treasure. The whole point of strengthening families and fathers is not to worship or glorify “family” but to magnify Christ. When Christian men live and lead with integrity, it draws others to Christ. When dads love their kids the way God loves us, it brings honor to our Heavenly Father.
How we treat our family members and other human being will either honor God or disgrace God.
If you have not had a decent earthly father in your life, it might be much more challenging for you to grasp God’s love for us a Father. It is my hope and prayer that you are able to see examples of fathers who help you to understand the great love of our Heavenly Father. He loves you with an everlasting love. He will not leave you, forsake you, or abuse you.
If you are grieving the loss of your earthly Father, I pray for God to surround you with comfort.
If you are blessed with an excellent earthly father, show him love and respect at every opportunity—not just on Father’s Day.