Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9b-10 NIV)
I love my father. He has been an amazing source of strength my entire life. He helped shape and guide me, taught me to think. He gave me permission to color outside the lines. My father’s qualities have given me so much of my concept of God.
I rarely feel as good of a father to my children as Dad has been to me.
Still I try. Most of the time I make a real effort to be self-aware of my tendency to be selfish, to be so caught up in my own dreams, fears, struggles, and difficulties that my children take an unintended backseat.
Sometimes I catch those failures before they become an issue. Sometimes I have to be reminded, giving me a chance to tweak unneeded behavior or attitude.
I have made lots of mistakes. There are more to come. I suspect if graded, I failed early attempts at Parenthood 101-118. Just ask Kyle. He has lots of horror stories I am sure.
If I could offer a self-diagnosis, I suspect most of my parenting inadequacies were easily treatable by simply deciding to grow up. I have joked in the past that Kyle raised me more than I raised him.
I love being a father. Yet sometimes I am impatient. Sometimes I am hard-headed. I will not listen to rap. And if you want to talk like a democrat, well then tolerance can only get you so far.
There are so many things I wish I could have done differently with all my boys. Hindsight as they say… Well, you know the old adage.
I would like to imagine that I am being harder on myself than is warranted. Too hard or not, I am thankful God is the great redeemer. I have to trust my failures will be redeemed as well.
I don’t blame God for the evil done by men. Each of us has the capacity for both good and bad. Most of us chose some or both during the course of our lives. And some of us are completely consumed by whatever evil impulse drives us… The end result is innocent people usually pay a heavy, heavy toll.
Knowledge and feelings are often in conflict. What I know about God can sometimes be contradicted by what I feel. I know God sacrificed His own Son for our salvation. How God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit worked all that out beforehand is a mystery to me. How exactly God interacts with His creation now in the daily existence of our lives baffles me still.
I wish you could figure out how to protect the innocent in the here and now. Help us understand when it feels as if You failed to be the protective father who cares for his children; give us some redeeming knowledge of You we can touch and hold on to when it feels as if we’ve been abandoned.
In the meantime, evil lurks, pain looms large, and questions abound. And some of us struggle with our faith particularly when we call out Father and all we hear in return is booming, echoing silence…
I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief! (Mark 9:24 NIV)
Help me; help us see the mystery that is You….
Les Ferguson, Jr.