As of this moment, I am self-imposing a moratorium on all Rangers-related blog posts. Scoring one earned run in the last 35 innings -- after the 15 run outburst last Thursday night -- is making me ill.
I remember hearing it before my girls were born but I never deeply contemplated it until the day after we brought Trae home from the hospital.
What is "it"? The reality that my daughters' initial impressions of their heavenly father God are formed from their interactions with me, their earthly father. My girls formative years demand interaction with me such that a wholesome vision of their heavenly Father is formed deep within their heart.
To be honest, I've been far from perfect. There have been times when my interaction smacked of impatience and indifference. Through my imperfections I try my best to convey to them the image of a perfect Father but I fall far short.
This evening, I finished off Donald Miller's newest book To Own A Dragon: Reflections on Growing Up Without a Father. The book chronicles Miller's move west to Oregon where he was adopted into the family of John & Terri MacMurray. By watching John MacMurray's interactions with his children, Miller received mentoring about how a godly father conveys God to his children.
Here are some excerpts from MacMurray's counsel to Miller about the role an imperfect, earthly father plays in introducing his children to the perfect, Heavenly Father.
"I do things for Chris (MacMurray's son) because I know Chris will love it. We go on a hike, we go down to the river. Showing Chris things that give him pleasure also gives me pleasure. I've seen a river a thousand times; after a while, you just get bored. But when Chris and I go to the river, I live the whole (experience) through him. I feel his pleasure, and it gives me pleasure. So, God is like that. A father is a fitting metaphor for God" (58).
"I guess what I am saying is, one day, I've got to introduce Chris to his real Father. God put me in Chris's life to take care of him and love him, but ultimately, we all belong to God. In Scripture, He refers to Himself as our Father and I think He really longs for us to know Him as that" (59).
"There isn't any love like this. I love Chris and the girls in a way I can't explain. I really can't. It feels like some kind of miracle. I want them to love life; I want to give them joy; I want them to mature. And now that I have felt all of this, I understand so much more of life; I understand why a sunset is beautiful; I understand why I don't get what I want all the time; I understand why God disciplines me; I understand God is a father" (60).
Miller closes the book with this poignant thought: "The Scripture that states, if an earthly father knows how to provide for his children, how much more God knows how to provide for His, speaks volumes in antithesis to: If an earthly father abandons his children and wrecks their lives, how much more would an abandonment from God destroy a human being" (182-183)?
Dads, we have an awesome role, an incredibly integral part in the story of our children's faith. Will our children have faith? Only to the extent that we, as imperfect, earthly fathers take serious our calling to introduce our children to the perfect, heavenly Father.