Friends Magazine Hong Kong
By Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva
June 2011 Edition
The greeting cards are out – so are the shirts, the mugs, the posters, the caps, the key chains that honor the “World’s Greatest Dad!” Yes. It’s that time of the year again when a father feels great to be one.
This year’s Father’s Day celebration is an especially poignant occasion for me because this year also marks my 40 blessed and blissful wedded years to my better half, Dory. It is because of my loving wife that I share with the rest of the world the joy of being a father. Surely, I know of no greater joy than receiving from our gracious Abba, our wondrous Lord the blessing of my four beloved children, my heritage and great reward (Psalms 127:3-5 ESV).
My 39 years of fatherhood has taught me that it is one serious business. Unlike an ordinary day job that runs from 8am-5pm, fatherhood is a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week commitment – with guaranteed NO sick leaves. And now that I am a delightfully happy grandpa too, I have never stopped being a father to my grandchildren’s parents. Essentially, therefore, a father is into it for life.
While fatherhood may be a daunting task, fathers are not without help and an example to follow. Our Lord Jesus Himself pointed us to “Our Father in heaven” in Whom we may always call.
Matthew 6 does not only point us to the “how” of praying, it also introduces us to the loving Father who is always available to come to our aid.
Give us today our daily bread. Our Heavenly Father provides. The Maker of heaven and earth is mindful of His children. “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26).
On the flipside, this is a good reminder to earthly fathers too. With the gift of children comes the responsibility to provide for them also. And the very impetus that should propel us to work is our very love for our family. As we work to provide for them, we must not neglect to look after them. One without the other is not enough.
Forgive us our debts. Our Heavenly Father loves unconditionally. He forgives us of our sins that we may have the grace to forgive those who sin against us. His love that is abounding in us makes us do the right things, even the difficult ones.
As hard as fathers try to keep our children on safe ground however, there will inevitably be forks and bumps on the road that may keep our children off their track. What do we do when they get astray, stumble and fall? We do not cast them off. Like the loving Father of the prodigal son, we patiently wait for their return and gladly welcome them back home (Luke 15:11-31).
We should not take it against ourselves when our children do things their way. They have their own freewill, hence they act on their own volition. The best that we can do for them is to lead them and guide them in the way they should go, and pray that they won’t depart from it when they grow up (Proverbs 22:6). When they get their hearts broken because of their wrong choices and decisions, we must be there to pick up the pieces and help them stand on solid ground once more.
Lead us not into temptation. Our Heavenly Father guides. He is a Shepherd who guides His people as His flock and leads them to safe and rich pastures (Psalm 23). His plans and purposes for His children are all for good (Jeremiah 29:11).
As earthly fathers, we must take it upon ourselves to make sure that the example we leave our children is worth imitating. Out of the good comes the good. When we keep this as a standard for our daily living, we can rest assured that we are raising up generations of godly children after us.
Deliver us from the evil one. Our Heavenly Father protects. He is “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation”(Psalm 68:5). “Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the LORD delivers them in times of trouble. The LORD protects and preserves them — they are counted among the blessed in the land — he does not give them over to the desire of their foes. The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness” (Psalm 41:1-3).
As surely as we have a Heavenly Father who is protective of His children, earthly fathers must always be the family’s chief protector too. Our authority in the family is delegated to us to guarantee that our family is safe at all times. It must run counter to our nature to use our authority to do anything that will hurt our wife and children. We keep them from evil. We do them no harm.
Fatherhood is a gift. While it is vested with many blessings, it is also coupled with many responsibilities. I pray for all the earthly fathers, may we be found faithful stewards of this God-given opportunity to become to our family as He is to us.
Happy Father’s Day, Abba! Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads all over the world!