On this Father’s Day, let’s hear it for all of the wonderful dads out there! I happen to know several who are among the best who have ever lived. I'm so grateful for my amazing husband, my wonderful father, and for my godly father and sons-in-law. I wish that everyone could experience the same honor, tenderness, and care that I know from all of these gentlemen. It is something that I pray about often.
Sadly, our nation is seeing the terrible fruit that is borne when boys and girls grow up fatherless. We seem to have an enormous number of lost and confused young people, desperately searching anywhere and everywhere for affirmation, significance, and purpose. It does not matter rich or poor, left or right, or any other distinction, nor does it matter what happened to cause the situation. When a child does not have a father, a vital piece of life is missing.
College ministry affords an incredible front-row seat to watching young men and women have their hearts and lives absolutely revolutionized by the love of Jesus. Every year, on so many campuses, we see broken people made whole, confused people find direction, lonely people find community, and rejected people find hope and purpose. Jesus truly is the great Healer and Savior of all, and we never get tired of watching Him bring new life. Something I would not have known when we were first starting out is that when one university student is touched by the love and hope of Christ, the repercussions go on and on for years and in so many directions. Their parents and grandparents are impacted, as are siblings and extended family members. Best of all, their own children will be raised in godly homes, by caring and unselfish people.
There are only two reasons that I affirm social media. One of them is because people in truly closed countries are able to potentially hear the Gospel, which is amazing. We have heard believers from all over the world testify to first seeing the Good News in someone's online post. Every time I get annoyed by how invasive social media is, I remember this and thank God. The second reason is because I can look on as people that we knew as college students become some of the most outstanding people in their communities and incredible parents. Since it is Father’s Day, let me brag on some of these dads.
When they entered college as 18 year-olds, most of these young men had no idea what an amazing opportunity and blessing it was to be at a university. Many of them were too distracted by the baggage from their dysfunctional childhood to be very forward-thinking. So many were terribly selfish and even mean. Too many of them were content to use their substance of choice to stay checked out just about all the time, whether that be drugs, alcohol, sex, or even video games. These young men were angry, broken, put down, and ignored. So many had been neglected or outright abandoned by their own parents, especially their fathers. Others had some vague understanding of God, and many of these came from great families, but they were full of pride and some of the most selfish people you could’ve ever met. But then something unexpected happened. They made a friend who introduced them to the greatest Friend in the universe.
We watched as these young men gave their lives to Jesus, and He began His great transforming work on their hearts and minds. Nothing impacts a life more than realizing that the good father someone longed for all their life was actually God, who was and is always near and ready to help. Now I see that these men have become incredible husbands and fathers, wonderful ministers, and important parts of whatever community they live in. They are kind, patient, generous, and selfless. They are courageous, truthful, and humble. Their own children will never know the sting of abandonment, neglect, or abuse. This is nothing short of a miracle! God is our Good Father, and He is in the business of making good men who act a lot like Him and who are the backbone of a healthy society.
Faithful – God has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us. He stays and stays. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and anyone who knows God as Father never has to worry about being abandoned. God never quits. He never stops working all things for the good of those who love and trust Him, and He helps men become steady like Him in this. A great father is one who clings to the best for his family with a love that never fails. God helps men be faithful fathers who never abandon their wife or children in word or deed.
Giving – God loved the world so much that He gave the most precious thing in the universe to save us: His Son Jesus. It does not matter how much it hurts Him, or how much He has to give and give and give some more - God will always choose to give more. He helps men become this kind of father, too. He puts an unselfishness in their hearts, that they will choose for their wife and childrens’ greatest good. Great fathers give, even when it costs them something; even when it costs them everything.
Encouraging – God is the great encourager. He gives us dignity and purpose, and challenges us to be the best that we can be. He has a dream for each of us, that He wove into us as he knit us together in our mother's womb. This is what great fathers do. They lovingly guide their children to be and to fulfill the dream that God has over their life. They watch and advise and help and speak truth. When a child knows that their father is behind them and for them, nothing can stop them.
Full of Justice - God made each of us on purpose and for a purpose, and what we do and do not do really matters. The justice of God is His kindness and holiness wrapped together. Ignoring truth and reality leads to death, so it is amazingly freeing to know that when we trust and obey God, life and health follow. Rebellion does not take anyone anywhere good, and a good father helps his children learn to navigate life with wisdom. Great fathers pass on to their children a deep love for the Bible. They teach their kids respect for God, truth, self, and others, and that our thoughts and actions truly have consequences.
Full of Love - The Bible tells us that God doesn't just have love or feel love… He is love. He has had perfect love and trust and fellowship forever within the Trinity, and created us all to take part in that. He loves us, and helps us to love one another. The opposite of love isn't hate, it is selfishness. Great fathers refuse to be selfish, and choose to generously display the love of God to their families. There is kindness and affirmation, hope and affection. They don’t leave when the going gets tough, or when something that seems better comes along. They don’t spend all their time and money on themselves to the neglect of everyone else. They always strive to choose what is best for their families.
This summer as we watch the news headlines, everyone is asking, “what can we do?“ The world seems so unsteady, and so many people are wandering and lost. Of course there are many wildly differing opinions about what should be done to make the world a better, safer place for our kids.
Be encouraged today – we know what to do! Every one of the thousands of university students we know have been led to Christ was brought there by someone who simply befriended them. A purposeful Christian kept their eye out for them, and took a real interest in their life. Someone was intentional, and that led the student on to a new path that changed their destiny and eternity. Now all of the children born to those students have a radically different existence and experience than they would have otherwise.
Every day, everywhere we go, we can share this great love of our Good Father with everyone we meet. He has plenty of love and faithfulness to go around, and He never gets tired of revolutionizing hearts and lives.
Thank you to all of the wonderful fathers in our lives, who exemplify these characteristics of God to so many of us!
Hi! I'm Mary - mother to two wonderful grown daughters, wife to an incredible husband, and loving our life in the piney woods of Texas... (read more!)
Subscribe to regular blog posts!