Your family needs a father who will see the danger and fight for their security. When a son or daughter is in peril of losing their character and purity, they need you to rescue them. When your marriage is hanging by a thread, your wife needs you to step up to the plate. You can, with God’s help, seek resolution of the issues. Without deflecting blame on anyone else, without making people feel guilty, they need you to lead the way. It’s scary, and you don’t know how it will turn out, but you cannot sit by and see your family carried off by thieves and robbers. Your family needs to feel protected by your leadership and your confidence in God. They need to see your enthusiasm and conviction to tackle a serious problem.
Your family needs a dad who doesn’t keep score and who isn’t petty and small. Instead, they need to see a bighearted man who can forget the hurts and seize the moment. Your family needs a dad who isn’t slavishly tied to his toys and games but cares more about people than things. They need to see a generosity that works rather than a petulant little man who is always defending his turf. They need to see your forgiving and contented spirit.
Your family needs to see a strong man, but not a controlling man who smothers out everyone’s personality. A man who has strong opinions but can leave room for other’s views. A man who can forfeit his place of honor and not pull rank just because he can. Your family needs to see a man of humility. Believe me, when they do, they will be attracted to you. Your family needs to see your kindness and gentleness. They need to feel your affection and love for them. They need to know how delighted and gratified you are to be their father and husband.
Your family needs to see a man who will lay aside his ego and self-reliance and seek God’s guidance. They need to know a man who demonstrates his dependence on God. A man who can be vulnerable enough to admit he doesn’t know how to solve all the problems, but he knows one who does, and his name is God. Your family needs to see a man who loves God with a passion and who enjoys his walk with God. Your family needs to see and feel your hopefulness even in the dark. They need to know that you will be faithful to God and them.
Four years ago, this month, I lost my father. I have so many wonderful memories of my father that comfort me. I remember when I was seventeen years old, my father injured his back and was in the hospital for three months. My brother had just left for Vietnam, and my mother and I continued to run the trucking business. I remember that one regular customer wanted his hay delivered to King City, a trip of more than two hours away, and it was mountainous. I told my dad, “I think we can do it.” My mom thought it was too much. With my dad’s confidence and with another worker, I started making two loads a day for more than a week. For a seventeen-year-old—this was extraordinary. As I look back, I am amazed at my father’s faith in me. His influence was shaping my life and preparing me for even more significant challenges to come. He would always say, “I will be praying for you,” something he said to me all my life.
To be a courageous father, we need God’s help, and he promises to give it if we wait on him: He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 4:29-31).