It is painful to be the parent of a fool; there is no joy for the father of a rebel. (Proverbs 17:21)
First off, I’d like to wish my dad and any dad reading this devotion a Happy Father’s Day!
Being a father is an incredible privilege and responsibility and there are huge dividends for children when we are present and engaged in their lives. I love being a dad! But honestly, being a father is one of the greatest challenges any of us could sign-up for.
Truth be told, many fathers are hurting today because of the foolish decisions of their children. The Bible has much to say about a fool; essentially this is a person described as dumb, wicked and unreceptive to instruction. I recently heard someone say having kids is like playing the lottery; you never know what you’re going to get! In naivety I used to think I could always draw a line connecting the bad choices of a child with the failings of their father. I see things differently now. I know many Godly (not perfect) fathers who have modeled for their kids what it means to follow Christ only to have their hearts broken by children who have pursued one horrible choice after another. If you look closely you can see pain in their eyes. This motivates me to do two things:
First, I want to encourage every dad I know to keep giving their best for their kids. When I see dads post pictures spending time with their kids I always hit ‘like!' I want dads to know that their consistent investments of time in their kids’ lives will have a payoff, even if they are currently in a difficult season. Lately I’ve seen God working in our church by drawing prodigal after prodigal back into relationship with their Father, so don’t give up!
Second, I want to live in a way that brings a smile to my dad; not pain. Life is too short to diminish this unique, life-giving relationship. I believe we can honor our parents for a lifetime. Yes, we make our own choices as adults yet we can embrace the values they instilled in us. When we do this, we in turn get long life (Exodus 20:12)!