Father, please bless us, your children, who are facing hardships and difficulty. Please help us endure through "the night" so that when your dawn comes, we can experience the great rejoicing that lies ahead. Please bless us Abba, dear Lord, and help us find your joy in all the days of our life. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
So how did David's become, "The man after God's own heart"?
David acknowledged the Holy Abba at all times.
David, who is the author of this psalm, had his fair share of weeping nights and joyful mornings. He went through weeping nights when King Saul was seeking to take his life, but joyful mornings came when King Saul was killed in battle, and David occupied the throne as King. He went through weeping nights when his adultery with Bathsheba was hidden, but experienced joyful mornings once he confessed his sins to God. David experienced weeping nights when his own son Absalom chased him from his throne, but experienced joyful mornings when he returned to Jerusalem. Because of David’s joyful mornings, he was able to write this psalm of thanksgiving, and celebration of God’s deliverance.
Not many of us have felt the love of our earthly fathers in the same way. Some were more giving, some loving, while others were hurtful or absentees from their children's lives. William Shakespeare once wrote;
“It is a wise father that knows his own child.”
- William Shakespeare
And while there are many circumstances that may make it difficult for fathers to fully engage with their children, including an act of sin or rebellion, fathers are invaluable and irreplaceable for their children.
In fact, research indicates that a father’s presence and involvement in a child’s life contribute to higher grades, better self-esteem, lower drug and alcohol use, and higher social and academic success.
7 WAYS GOD NURTURES US AS A FATHER
- Dads Can Learn
There are seven dimensions of effective fathering that result in good parenting. Earthly dads usually don’t exhibit all seven traits, but it is a case of “more we follow, the better it is.” While some of them are challenging to perform in cases of separation, all offer benefits to children. However, these are the selected few ways God Father's us.
1. Fostering a positive relationship with others. Dads set the tone for the children’s interaction with others. Displaying acts of respect, consideration, and affection (when appropriate) helps children learn by example. Fathers who demonstrate positive conflict resolution through compromise and forgiveness also have a strong impact on children.
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. - Colossians 3:12-13.
2. Spending time with children. Children equate time with love. A dad who spends time with his children is actually demonstrating interest and enthusiasm in the child’s life.
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. - Deuteronomy 6:6-8.
3. Nurturing children. Beyond the obvious benefits of nurturing love, research shows that loving and nurturing parenting is linked to better child behavior at all ages. Nurturing dads build strong bonds with their children, providing them with a sense of security that helps them grow into confident and loving people.
You fathers, do not be exasperating your children, so that they do not become downhearted. - Colossians 3:21
4. Serving as a guide to the world. The world can be a scary place to a child. A dad who helps a child navigate the world properly with a set of core beliefs and life experiences helps prepare the child for life ahead.
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” - Mark 10:45
5. Using appropriate discipline. The basis of the word “discipline” is “to teach with love.” Dads who maintain self-control as well as control of emotions and hands are more effective at discipline than those who do not. The goal of discipline is to teach the child, not to punish or humiliate. Good fathers know this and act accordingly.
"The Lord has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death." - Psalm 118:18
6. Protecting and providing. Modern forms of protection can include childproofing a home, monitoring online media, or knowing their children’s friends. Research shows that disadvantaged environments suffer when fewer dads are available to supervise children, which includes their own children as well as neighborhood children.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” - Deuteronomy 31:6
7. Serving as a positive role model. A dad's actions and beliefs strongly influence his children. "What's a role model?" you might be asking. Well, a role model is a person that you respect, admire, and want to be like in some way. Influencing them to be greater human beings and training them to seek and live in truth.
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness, and being found in appearance as a man, humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.” - Philippians 2:5-8
God is the God of all comfort (see 2 Cor. 1). Even when He deals harshly with our sin and rebellion, it is for our good. It will last only a short while and then it gives way to rejoicing. If you are in a time of discipline or facing the cruel consequences of sin, please don't give up. Morning will come, and on that dawn will come God's grace. It's more than worth the wait!
References: 1. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 2. Goddard, H. W., & Morgan, M. (1995). The great self mystery. Auburn, AL: Alabama Cooperative Extension Service.