Two years ago today I became a father. At this moment two years ago my hand was cramping as I applied counter-pressure to my wife’s back as she endured the pain of back labor. We live in a culture where not many people value children, many are blind to the blessing that comes with them. Men who skip out on fatherhood miss a lot, and fatherhood is not just getting a woman pregnant and withdrawing as many do today. Fatherhood is not a spectator sport, fatherhood is hard and rewarding. It can also be very messy, I’ll never forget the time my son had diaper explosion on me at the end of church one Sunday. The following are some of the things I have learned being a father:
1) It’s a good thing to have a father. Scripture speaks of God as our Father, and for many the depth of meaning is lost on them in a sea of fatherlessness. Last week I was gone for several days on a youth trip and my son was excited to have me back home. As an earthly father I am called to be a picture, an imperfect one, of our heavenly Father to my sons.
2)I understand my relationship to God better. The psalmists speaks of God having compassion like a father. My son has started having night terrors and will sometimes shriek and cry in his sleep. Nothing stirs my fatherly compassion like his pitiful sobs when this happens. My compassion is nowhere near God’s compassion for me, my love and care for my boys pale in comparison to God’s love.
3)I’m a rotten sinner. Nothing will show you your sin nature like raising kids. I have learned more then ever how selfish and impatient I can be. This has shown me God’s patience towards me.
4)Everything I do counts. As a father my kids imitate me, they want to be like me. While I was gone last week my wife told me that John, who turns 2 today, folded his hands and said “amen” before dinner. He calls every book he sees Bible. He tries to repeat almost every word I say. This morning I was trying to get a ball from underneath our couch for him, and he imitated how I was crawling on the ground. Everything I say and do counts because he will seek to imitate me.
5) It’s worth it. Sleepless night, temper tantrums, teething, you name it it’s worth it. I know some couples struggle with infertility and I pray for them. Some however are intentionally missing out on one of the greatest gifts they could have. Having kids has grown and shaped me more then anything else in life could. Having kids has made God’s fatherhood a greater reality to me.