A couple of things happened recently that caused me to ponder the roles and relationships in our family. Well, not just in our family, but in all families.
The first thing was a text I received from my daughter-in-law:
Matty, age 4, “Hey Dad. I mean, Jacob.”
Mom, “Hey, Jake, did Matty just call you dad?”
Jake, age 6, (seriously), “Yeah. Because I am the dad
when dad’s gone.”
Well, there you have it. Somebody has to be the dad, and Jake graciously stepped up to take on the role (but probably not the responsibilities!) when Dad is out of town.
There’s something about a child that understands there needs to be a dad in the house. I’ve been involved with a lot of single moms, and every child, at one time or another, asks about their dad. Kids need dads – as role models and as authority figures.
What about mom? Yes, of course all children must look up to and respect mom as the role model and authority she is, and I know Jake does, but something prompts even a six-year-old to know that there should be a dad in the house.
The second event that caused me to ponder familial relationships is this photo that my sister-in-law posted on FaceBook. It is a great photo of their family; they have one son, on the far right, and two daughters (on the left).
What intrigued me, (and I had to verify with my SIL that this wasn’t a posed photo) is where they were all looking when the photographer snapped the candid and caught a fun family moment.
Someone obviously said something funny, but what caught my eye is the way all the girls were looking at their husbands (or soon-to-be-husband), and all the guys are looking at dad.
What were the boys looking for? Confirmation? Validation? Affirmation? For guidance into whatever is next? To hear a word of wisdom?
And what were the girls looking for? Confirmation? Validation? Affirmation? To be led in the moment? To receive whatever dad sent by way of the guys? It seems that way.
The thing about these two somewhat different moments is that they both seem to indicate an innate recognition of, and desire for, a higher authority. No one taught Jake that there has to be a dad, or that the oldest boy should assume the mantle if dad is gone. And I doubt any of the girls had a lesson specifically teaching them to look up to the men in their lives as their authority.
Well, I know I’ve already offended one or two of you with the whole, “men are the authority in the family hierarchy” but I can’t take credit for that… That’s God’s plan.
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy… Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother” (Ephesians 5:21, 25-26; 6:1-2 NIV)
What I’m saying is, there’s a desire planted within our hearts for a higher authority. An authority to tell us definitively what is right and what is wrong. An authority that has a plan for us. An authority to guide us in the best way, give us healthy boundaries, listen to us, tend to us, hold us, and comfort us. An authority who has our backs, is always strong for us, never lets us down, and who always has the best wisdom to impart. We want an authority who ultimately loves us no matter what.
What do we want? We all want a dad! No, more than that, we all want the perfect dad. But that dad is not to be found, unless you look for him in the Bible.
And that Dad, the ultimate authority, loves you just as you are, and he’s waiting to adopt you into his family.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NIV)
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will…” (Ephesians 1:4-5 NIV)
I do think it’s interesting that as much as we innately want God, we try to meet that need with every conceivable thing other than God. We want to be our own authority, and we are seeing evidence of that played out on college campuses throughout the country. We look to sports figures, celebrities, even mediums and spiritists to guide us.
But nothing will fill the vacant spot in our hearts that cries out for God, for a father, except God.
If you are a dad, people are watching you, they are looking to you guide them, are you leading them to Jesus?
If your heart is crying out for a dad, will you turn to the Ultimate Father? “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; (Psalm 68:5-6 NIV)
Some of my favorite dads…
New dad and papa
Big Pa (great grandpa)
Home Depot Dad
And my all time favorite… Super-hero dads