Sitting here listening to the ringing of my four oldest children as they play together gives me a moment to contemplate the amazing and glorious gift of God of my family. At times I feel as though I am truly the richest man that ever lived. Even in the aggravation of life, I can honestly attest to the reality that our family and our home is a haven of worship, a place where constant reminders of God’s grace sing through the echoes of memories and madness. A place where there is a people at the heart of it all, a people for God’s glory by the power of His mighty grace. I’m reminded of the gravity of being a father often, especially in this season as it has been one hard lick after another with “something” just around the corner. Whether it be problems with our house (firstworld) not coming together or financial strain due to emergencies or the 29 visits to a doctor in 2013 and the related joys that tag along, it all comes in a very small manner, painful but joyful and God is truly using it all to sanctify us.
Our fifth child being born in October has brought a few more experiences, beginning with Robyn, my wife, who had a very difficult pregnancy and bed rest the latter third. Then the birth in itself was a gift of God’s mercy pushing the physical and emotional limits of our hearts to the peak of failure and even death and all the while, the Lord was there, holding it all together by the Word of His power. So this day, not yesterday and not the hope of what tomorrow brings but this day is the day for us now. Now is the time of faith, now is the time of rejoicing and now is the time when all things are for the Glory of our Lord. My children remind me of this and keep me ever working and hoping, not in a wishful way, in a certain and guaranteed confidence that only comes from God, that His purpose is good for me. Fatherhood is dear to me, it is something that even as a young boy I desired and I am thankful that the Lord has given me the best and most excellent wife and five wonderful sinners, that by the Lord’s grace, believe on Him (well four at this point).
In this little moment there isn’t much of an argument for me to declare or theological paradigm to proclaim but a small reminder, a big smile and a wonderful glimpse at the Father’s love. Hearing them play, sing, talk, and work through their own struggles brings me back to my childhood when one of my only fears was the loss of my family. It really was, I lived in a pretty faith-filled place but when it came to considering one of my parents or grandparents dying I was shaken, not just pouty, but fearful. I hear my children play and think, “is that their fear?” Many times in the last 16 years of fatherhood each of my children have expressed this fear. Daily they all affirm their love for me and their mother through obedience and affection and I know that there will come a day when they will face the reality of the death of their parents. That day when I or their mother will depart this Earth to receive all that we have longed and held fast for in our lives.
While death is such a sweet and glorious blessing that brings with it no fear, pain or suffering, I have just realized that there is a small amount of fear in me still. The fear that my children may fear as I feared at their age. A fear that they would consider life wrecked and hopeless if we died. And with that thought I can still feel the warm hand of fear in my own soul. At the same time I rejoice, not because I love the macarbre but mainly because I am satisfied. I am satisfied that they have the fear of children because they recognize their affection and dependance upon us and because we are their salvation in so many ways. I know not every family has this that we enjoy and I would be a fool to think it could never end. But for now, it is what we have and it is to this that I speak. I am satisfied that the God of my salvation, Jesus Christ has attended to me and will in fact attend to my children. I am satisfied that true hope is available through the Spirit of Life to them and that we teach them about the reality and certainty of physical death and how it is NOTHING in relation to the death of sin.
I am satisfied to know that my children, even if they are not aware, are prepared by God to face each day He has given them and that with all that I have within me I pray they hold fast to Him forever as He has held fast to them. I am satisfied that there is no fear in death and that my fear and theirs, even in grief, will be brief and tied to a glorious outcome for their good. I remember countless death room experiences, some of my own family where the dying would fear what would happen to those left behind. It is natural, but our life in Christ is above natural, it is above comprehension because it is born of God.
I know that the God of Heaven has established all the days of my life and theirs and that nothing my children accomplish in life will ever make me proud or fulfill my greatest dream or reach their greatest potential except for them to trust fully in the perfect life and finished work of Jesus Christ the Righteous! I am satisfied knowing that the Lord who began the good work in them will complete it, even if my death in their young lives is part of His glorious grooming and purpose. But until that day, we fix our eyes not on that which is seen or feared, but the One who is unseen and revealed to us by the Spirit through the Word. He alone is our peace, He is our comfort, He is our glory, He is our redeemer, He is our sufficient High Priest and He is sufficient to see my children be raised up to lay down their lives for the Gospel.
May the God of all gods and the King of all kings reign supreme in our home and all the days of our lives and God, may the legacy of these parents be one of Christ exalting glory!