My life changed on May 25th, 2001. Amber and I were celebrating our fifth anniversary. Instead of a cruise in the Caribbean we had been dreaming about taking for years, we found ourselves in a small hospital room at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It was that day we first met our son Benjamin.
In the past nine years, Benjamin has taught me more about God and God’s love.
- Benjamin doesn’t concern himself with yesterday or worry too much about tomorrow. Today is where he lives.
- He looks at the world with wide-eyed optimism and relentless hope.
- He has an enchanting, almost naïve trust in a really big God.
- He is seriously playful.
- He is quick to forgive.
It’s no wonder Jesus tells us to become like children. (Matthew 18:3-4)
I’m also aware of Benjamin’s humanity and therefore his imperfection. And this is probably where I have learned the most about God. The pastor can stand in front of the congregation and talk about God’s love and God’s forgiveness. We know in our mind that the pastor is probably on to something. But to see a child sin and to love the child just the same after the sin than before the sin speaks to our heart because it gives us a glimpse of the love that our heavenly Father has for us.
Today is Father’s Day. It honors fathers: the good ones and the not-so-good ones. I know that some people who read this will become a father soon—for the first time. You have so much excitement and joy in front of you. I also know that some great-grandfathers will read this as well. You have wisdom the rest of us need: both from the things you would do exactly the same and from the things you would do entirely different. Part of your life can be spent helping make the rest of us better fathers.
Some boys and girls are blessed with great fathers. Others don’t have much of a male figure present in their lives. All of us men can do something about this. We can coach, mentor, lead, listen, be present, serve, play, and pray for and with boys and girls looking for a male role model.
To the fathers who read this I have two things. First, happy Father’s Day! Second, I pray for all of us fathers—that we will become the fathers that our children need. I also pray that we will find an opportunity in the next year to be a father figure for a kid who needs a father figure. In these relationships, I know we will be blessed by the children we serve and I know we will be blessed by God because God will give us a glimpse of who He is.
The best is yet to come…