Fatherhood: What I Wasn’t Prepared For (TCM)
A few posts earlier I made some comments about my hopes and dreams for my now newborn son—what I wanted him to become, what I wanted to instill in him. I am not a person taken back by much. I have seen my fair share of tragedy, heartache, joy, and elation, but I never expected this. Many friends who are already parents had told me how immediate the love for their child was; how when they were born it was literally love at first sight. Now, I get this and was expecting it. My son is an awesome little guy and I am likely going to be that annoying dad talking about how cool his son is all the time. I’ve accepted this fact, but what I was not expecting was the fuller recognition of what occurred in the manger and on the cross. Studying the bible, theology, and church history academically for seven years sometimes makes it difficult to appreciate the little lessons that God gives us every day. Now this isn’t to say that theologians don’t learn anything daily…quite the contrary…being a theologian gives the Holy Spirit more ammunition because we should know better. But God speaks so readily through the saints of the past and the biblical text that sometimes it is difficult to hear him in life’s moments. I can tell you now…that even if I had been distracted one thousand times over I was not going to miss God in the next moment I am about to describe to you.
My son was born on a Friday and that night my wife and I didn’t get much sleep. She was sore, he was irritable (understandably so) and I was worried about them both. After saying a prayer, I eventually drifted off to sleep and awoke to a screaming newborn and my wife sitting in a rocking chair trying to feed him. After he was fed, she handed him to me and directed me to sit in the chair and hold him while she took a shower. I sat there looking at my son afraid of breaking him (this is every man’s fear ladies) when a flood of scripture started coming to mind. In that one moment, the impact of the manger and the cross became all the more real to me…all the more serious. I was now a father…a pale reflection of our heavenly Father and when sitting there looking at my son I began to recognize everything that God had done for us in a new light. I held my son (who was six and a half pounds at the time) and came to the realization that the creator of the universe for whom all things were made, and by which all things are sustained was at one time in human history this small. He was this vulnerable, this fragile, this dependent on us…think on that for one moment. The creator of the universe…master of all that is and ever will be humbled himself and became vulnerable to us, fragile, and perhaps most shocking of all…dependent on us for His very survival.
On top of all of this…God gave His Son to us. I had never understood the ramifications of that as a father. Holding my son in that moment helped me to realize how fearful I am of the things in the world that could hurt him, not just physically but (perhaps even more frightening to me) spiritually. I have a son…I do not know what will become of him…and yet I am afraid for him. There is one thing scarier than not knowing what is going to happen to your child however, and that is knowing exactly what is going to be done to him and willfully sending him out into the world anyway. This is what God did…He willingly sent His perfect Son into a violent, wicked, damnable place and allowed us (mere ants in comparison to his glory) to kill Him. What purpose was there in this? It was all done so that the very ones who murdered Him might be saved in Him!
All of this and more flooded into my mind and as I thought on it, I actually began to weep. Now those who know me…know that I do not cry…it is not that I think it isn’t manly to cry…it’s just not something I do very often, if ever. In that moment however, I was so overcome with grief, thanks, shame, and joy (I know weird combination of emotions) that I could not help myself. I share this because I want to impress upon people the true wonder that is the coming, life, passion, and resurrection of Christ. We had in our midst for 32-33 years God in flesh dwelling among us…that gift apart from the cross and resurrection is more than we deserve. Give thanks to Him that He is not as selfish as we are. He spared no expense in purchasing us from death…let us show Him our gratitude by living lives that glorify His name and bring recognition of His coming Kingdom. Peace and Blessings and as always thank you for reading.