The following is the text of a paper written during a Christian Counseling Education Foundation course I took, Dynamics of Biblical Change. The course has my highest endorsement.
“Nothing is worse for a family than to have a father whose word cannot be trusted.” Sinclair Ferguson, Children of the Living God
This sentence hit me as a continuing theme of my meditations during this course is my performance as a father verses our heavenly father’s example. Generally I think I do a good job of keeping my promises to my kids but as I read this quote yesterday images popped into my head of times when I promised one of our littler ones I would do something that brought them much joy but annoyed or bored me and when I failed to keep my word or procrastinated to keep it long enough that following through was no longer a possibility.
What does this do to me when I consider it more closely? It begs me to either be an honest dad who simply tells his kids he loves his leisure more than he loves to see their joy or to be much more purposeful about keeping my word when it is asked of me. Our heavenly father does not recoil at our silly requests and He does not find even the slightest ones annoying. Rather, He asks us to bring whatever petitions we have to Him knowing that He cares for us.
I’m also reminded that our Father’s example provides me the discretion to withhold specific purposes or reasons for decisions when wisdom dictates. I need to be aware that even when God has initially withheld the reason for an answer He provides, He often very graciously sneaks it in the back door when I’m not looking in the form of circumstances that conveniently line up for me, the witness of a brother or sister who fills me in on “the rest of the story” or some other manner.
While I am a poor substitute, I am the closest thing my kids have to an example of God the Father. If they are to believe all the precious promises our Father has provided in His Word, it begins with them developing a trust in loving fatherhood, and that begins with me. As I write this I am comforted that it is not me but the Spirit of God within me that will make it happen and that the One who began a good work in me is faithful to bring it to completion.