And you know how affectionately we treated each one of you, like a father cares for his own children. We comforted and encouraged you and challenged you to adopt a lifestyle worthy of God, who invites you into his kingdom and glory.” (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12, TPT)
This passage drew deep into my father’s heart this past Mother’s Day weekend when four of my five children flew in or drove in from various places on the west coast to surprise their mother with a visit. It has been twelve years since all of us have been in one place.
As fathers we have a privilege to comfort, encourage and challenge our children to adopt a lifestyle worthy of God’s invitation into his glorious kingdom. We are the written expression of that invitation in heart, word and deed. The eternal light of it shines brightly when all the temporal stuff is stripped away, and we simply enjoy being together.
The blessing of seeing the immense appreciation and satisfaction in my wife; who represents differing facets of the treasure of God’s heart; will remain for some time. I feel his delight about what earthly and spiritual family means.
But I also become aware of the ease in being a comfort, the intentionality of authentic encouragement and the necessity to challenge when needed. Unconditional love and acceptance is the mortar that allows us fathers to build day in and day out.