Tag Archives: Fatherhood


My dad’s ears were enormous – big, rubbery flaps on each side of his head, secure handholds when I rode on his shoulders.  Dad didn’t simply walk around when he gave horsey rides; he galloped and bounded.  Let me tell you: those ears were the difference between a hilarious, exhilarating ride and certain death.  That’s why they were there.  He also used them to listen to us.  His hands, likewise, were shaped exactly to fit the needs of a son who needed a bicycle seat adjusted, a scraped knee bandaged or a comforting, encouraging hand on the shoulder.  His lap was adjustable and could easily accommodate two or three kids at story time.  His deep bass voice carried the tune for many funny songs during long drives and could just as easily restore order to a couple of rowdy boys mixing up mayhem in the back seat.  My dad could wrap his arms around you from behind and show you how to use a drill or a spokeshave.  He could fix a twisted slinky.  Dad would have been 100 years old this week, had it not been for a nasty dustup with cancer.  But I can still feel his ears pressed against my own as I hugged him for the final time.

If we could choose our parents, I’d have chosen Dad.  No dads are perfect – some far from it – but my dad came pretty close.  That’s why it means so much to me that Jesus told us to think of God in Heaven as our Father.  I think He wanted us to feel as comfortable, secure and loved as I did growing up.  For example, He said,

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  –  (Matthew 6:31-32)

When asked how we should pray, how we should speak when we dare to address the Almighty, majestic, sovereign, Ruler of the universe, Jesus instructed us to start like this:  “Our Father…”  He told us to speak with God as a loving father, humbly and confidently asking for what we need – even when what we need is forgiveness!  He said for us not to try to connect with God with fancy words or repetitive phrases but to understand that God truly hears us as we come to Him with sincere hearts.

I guess God has big ears too.

Getting Us Ready

When it came time for God to send His Son to save the world, first He sent a prophet to get us ready.  By doing what?  What would need to be done to get a people ready to receive the Son of the the Creator, ready to fully profit from His coming?

You might think the prophet would take them on spiritual retreats to fast and pray on the top of a mountain.  Perhaps a lot of humming and incense would be involved.  But, according to the last thing written in the Old Testament and the first thing in the New Testament, proclaimed by an angel to the father of this prophet, a major part of what he would do would be:

“… to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”  (Luke 1:17b, quoting from Malachi 4:6)

That seems a pretty basic thing to do to prepare people for God’s arrival.  And it is.  But, as we have experienced in the last several decades, the health and strength of a people is directly proportional to the loving concern of fathers for their children.  And vice versa.  When fathers abandon their children, even emotionally, the whole sound structure of wellbeing begins to crumble. 

Jesus came to bring us eternal life and reconciliation with God.  He came to bring the power of the Holy Spirit to us.  But He also came to repair the broken fabric of how simple, healthy life on earth was designed to be lived.  Starting, even before He showed up, with fathers.

We’d do well to pay attention to that and act accordingly…