I’m excited about this one. We’re going to start with a quote today and then we kind of want to talk about the problem that that quote addresses and brings up, and that is a quote from we think the John Greene that a lot of us know and love and read on YouTube and with his novels.
The quote is, “The nature of impending fatherhood is that you are doing something you are unqualified to do and then you become qualified while doing it.” Now Jeremy, I don’t know about you, but that’s literally almost like… I’m struck with fear, anxiety and laughing at the same time because it’s so true. Like it’s just where we’re kind of thrown into this, but there’s also a blessing in that. I want to hear you read something and talk about that for a second.
Yeah. I think we all feel like when you have that baby it feels unbelievably surreal that they let you out of the hospital without any training. When you think about this is the way God originally designed it, he wanted us as dads to get training on the job, and so I think it’s fair to ask the question why is God taking this risk? For whose benefit? Is it really the child’s benefit? I mean they’re not exactly the one who is benefiting from the fact that we have almost no experience.
I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and been pondering and trying to figure this out in my own heart and just understanding God’s sort of design. I wrote something I wanted to read to you guys and just ponder a little bit with Jeff.
The Bible actually never says fathers are a blessing, though of course they are. It says children are a blessing, this is from Psalm 127, because they are 100% of the time. What this means, dads, is today is a great day for you to thank God for making you a father. Having a group of humans completely dependent on your leadership, protection and provision is always a blessing first to you.
Our culture gets this backwards. We think fathers are the ones making the sacrifice. Really? Think about it. None of us were ready for this responsibility when it came. Most of us were totally self-focused boys when someone put that first baby into our arms. We practice learning to become real men on our children through fatherhood. What a risk God takes in trusting children into our care. He could have found a safer way for children to be raised, but he loved us so much he made us fathers. I’m so blessed that my children made me a father. God only knows the self-destructive, self-focused, confused and foolish boy I’d be without them.
So I think that this really encourages me to feel the love that God has for us as dads and also helps us avoid self-pity, because I think that one of the things that we often feel like is that we are sacrificing so much for our children. I totally get why we think that, but if you look at it from God’s perspective, which really is the only perspective that’s truly objective, it’s the one that really brings us into alignment with really truth, from God’s perspective he’s really trying to raise us. He wants to raise us from boys into men. He wants to prepare us to become sons of the kingdom.
So what better way than all of the ways that you will find by having to really care for children and raise a family team? I think that’s a lot closer to the reason why we are handed children without training in advance. God wants to raise us up, and this is the method that he… He’s the one who decided to do it. What does that stroke for you Jeff?
I love that. I think it’s so true. I mean for some reason the two first words that popped into my head that I want to talk to dads today in the five minutes we have is don’t run. What I mean by that is I think a lot of times our natural inclination is when the burden becomes bigger, the responsibility becomes bigger, the vocation becomes bigger, the mission becomes bigger, everything that happens when you become a father and as your kids and your family grow, the inclination is to run, to kind of say… To abdicate, to step away, to walk away.
Now a lot of us don’t… If you’re listening to this you probably don’t do that in your actual life. A lot of us, we do that in almost a heart level, a mental level, a checking out level. So I think yeah, like to me this is the switch that was really helpful for me to flip, that when things… Now of course there needs to be proper self-care, health on the soul, rhythms in your marriage, but when things are just hard in general and not like burning out or maxing out, when they’re just difficult and they’re hard, I’ve actually like started to welcome that and realize this is making me… This is the primary vehicle and tool that is making me more into the image of Jesus, and that’s actually how it’s supposed to be. That’s not an accident. That’s not a mystery. That’s not something random or weird.
To me, I don’t know, it just takes away a lot of resentment. I’m nicer to my kids, to my wife, and more gentle and more compassionate because I’m stepping into kind of the cadence that God’s already doing and I’m just kind of paying attention. So I don’t know if you have a closing thought on there or if that’s what you would say too after you read that?
Right on. Yeah. God’s… His agenda is to shape us. It’s not about our happiness. That’s not his primary goal. So when we really fall in line with design that he’s created and embrace this role and see how it’s transforming us, it really can help us just have the courage and embrace all the challenges that fatherhood brings.