The other night I role-played a few stories from the Old Testament that my children absolutely loved. At one point, the lights were out and I had my “torch” covered with a “pot”. If you know where I’m going with this you may know that I had a tiny army with me compared with that I was about to face. I, was Gideon.
It may seem that as parents we are in a similar situation that Gideon found himself in. Judges 6 tells the story of a young man who was threshing wheat in the wine press to keep it from Midian. He was afraid, alone, and seemingly under threat of defeat from those where were literally on the doorstep of his home.
I often feel like a hiding father. The world out there has worn on me and I feel that sometimes there is an insurmountable force just on my doorstep that seeks to devour me as soon as they find me out. My kids don’t see this, they don’t understand. What they see is a father consumed with his technology, hiding behind a screen that does not demand anything from me.
Something miraculous happens to Gideon. Amidst his cowering, and angel of the Lord appears to him with these words, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12:). And with that small paradoxical phrase Gideon goes on to defeat the Midianites with an army paling in size compared to the beast they are up against. And therein I find the strength to rise up and live life before my kids.
From the weakest of the tribes, Gideon like Moses and others before him, really wonder if God had picked the right person. I often wonder the same thing. When the world is out there and gaining momentum, here I am, a father, husband, para-ministry professional, and I’m hiding because my faith has been crushed. My world has been rattled. How easily I forget the promises of God. How easily my faith is shaken. How easily I cower in the wine press instead of stand strong on the battlefield.
Like Gideon, God has raised me up as a leader. He has set me over a family and called me to model the power of Christ. Is it hard? Immensely! Is it scary? Beyond belief! But it’s worth it. And as I see the joy on my children’s faces when they see their father acting as a man called by God to do great things, it makes the hard times, the long days, the sleepless nights worth it. But it must not stop there,
I must model the gospel to my children. To me, this means having a regular time of bible reading, prayer, worship, and fellowship. But it’s more. It’s loving my wife, protecting her heart, showing my kids what a biblical sexuality looks like when lived Coram Deo. I must model the gospel to my children through my relationship with the Father. My utter dependence on Him and my tenacious pursuit of His truth through the Scriptures.
Fathers, remember when you’re living life, you’re children are watching. They depend on you for their future, for their character, their worldivew. Put down the phone and, for God’s sake, love on your children with the same tenacity that you use in crushing candy. Love your wife and spend your every fiber and being in making the gospel known to your family and those just outside your walls who are looking in to see what you’re up to.