Today my wife and I were given the happy news that our expected baby, due in July, IS A BOY! This will be our third! Once and for all this should prove that all of the “old wives tales” and tricks that are used to determine the gender of a child in the womb are 100% bogus! I cannot tell you how many people were certain that this would be a girl!
As with my other sons, this news has brought a sobriety to my thinking today and reminded me of the great privilege it is to train another generation of men. I have found myself daydreaming of a hopeful time in my future when my sons are grown and have become the godly men that I long for them to be. In one sense that seems like a lifetime away. At the same time, I look at my nine year old, and think, “How can it be possible that this much time has passed?” I want to be the best dad that I can. I want to make the most of every day to train these young boys for God. I feel the weight of that responsibility, but I’m also painfully aware that ultimately I cannot choose that destiny for them. They must choose Christ for themselves. I’ve been so encouraged that both of my current sons have made an initial profession of faith in Jesus Christ and I’m already praying for that day to become a reality for my third son. Further, it delights my heart to see evidence of genuine spiritual growth in their lives. But, I also fear the certainty of the struggle that they will have with sin. It will pull at their hearts in increasing measure with every year that passes. Will I realize the day when my sons will gather as adult men in my home along with their families, perhaps on a holiday, and together share with me the joy of a satisfaction that is only found in a thriving relationship with Jesus Christ, the Lord? Will it happen? The frightening truth is, I don’t know. They will have to make hundreds of choices along the way. They will struggle. They will fall. They will get hurt. I know, because all of those things happened and continue to happen to me. I wish I could completely protect them from many aspects of life in the 21st century, but the reality is that they must choose to follow Christ with all of their hearts and put Him first in their thinking, attitudes, and actions. They must each do that for themselves. It’s not a choice that I can make for them. It’s the same battle that I wrestle with every day. Will I choose Christ or my own way? I’m so thankful that it is not up to me to produce godliness in the hearts and lives of my sons or it would never happen. I can’t even make myself godly, much less someone else. So, the real question that I must wrestle with, is this: Do I trust God and His Spirit’s work in the lives of my sons to carve out His perfect will for them? It may not end up looking like the picture-perfect scene that I currently envision in my mind. Do I trust God with my sons’ future? He knows what is best for their lives. He knows what they really need. And, He is the only one that can make my sons righteous. In the same way that He has taken their broken sin-scarred father (me), and proclaimed me righteous through no good of my own, and continues to sanctify me using trials as well as blessings, and the truth of His Word, I must trust that He will do that same work in and through my boys for His glory.
I love the text of the song below, written by another father wrestling with these same thoughts. If you are also on this journey of fatherhood, I’m sure that the words will bless you as they have me. As you listen to the song, ask yourself, Do you trust God with your kids?
“When I look at you, boy
I can see the road that lies ahead
I can see the love and the sorrow
Bright fields of joy
Dark nights awake in a stormy bed
I want to go with you, but I can’t follow
So keep to the old roads
And you’ll find your way.
Go back, go back to the ancient paths
Lash your heart to the ancient mast
And hold on, boy, whatever you do
To the hope that’s taken hold of you
And you’ll find your way.
If love is what you’re looking for
The old roads lead to an open door
And you’ll find your way
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