I want to take a short journey with you fathers, back in time a bit… into one of my favorite places on earth…. the woods.
There’s a lot of things that I as a young cub scout, discovered in them. The blue skies and clouds immense and expansive juxtaposed alongside the tree canopy, it’s borderless boundary, it’s height. The quantity and sizes of those branches, trunks and roots… it all peaked my curiosity of the unknown. The thought of sleeping in a tent in the backyard was a thrill for me too.
We may have been young but knew if there was any distress, the “parental-guides” were close enough by us to respond to danger and would have already surveyed that where we were was a safe place to abide. Our confidence in the vigilance of our volunteering host parents watching over our tent, kept us courageous enough to go back to sleep when we heard strange sounds in the wind, or saw shadows on the tent walls. Soon, evening gave way to morning and before you know it, we cubs were rejoicing we made it through the nights perils into a brand new day… with all its new adventures awaiting.
I was a child raised without my biological father’s presence. I had substitutes come in for that in my earlier days. One took an interest in my art projects and cub scout assignments, yet had drinking and anger challenges.
Some of these father figures were good, some not so. My biological dad and I interacted a little bit more much later in my twenties with initial help of other family members to cross over the communication gap. I had lots questions about “what makes a family a family…”, and “why my last name was different from my mother’s and my other siblings”, and …”WHAT DOES A GOOD DAD LOOK AND ACT LIKE?”
Sons throughout the ages, in contemplating their destinies via questions, have similarly been in need of proactive, vigilant and protective guidance, and as such…they have similar needs of leadership residing within leaders, who have indeed been guided once themselves. Even more specifically, sons need men to identify and develop that male “seed of leadership” that is only thoroughly transferred and communicated in ways that our specific gender understands, relates to and receives with an open and tender heart.
Not everything can simply be transfered to your child via logic, or disciplinary action, or friendship, or compromise. Your use of concepts connecting with their own imagination can often guide them on trajectory towards listening to the “truth” and resisting lies. This is a key for sons and daughters alike. When they can discern for themselves in your absense, your battle over their souls becomes lighter as they actively choose obedience to the truth over those propogated lies. God’s Spirit (the master teacher) can take these same seeds of obedience and produce something far greater than anyone imagined initially.
Usually a period of absence creates the backdrop for an enemy to whisper thoughts in little ears about “why’ you are not there in your position of “a father”.
As it was in ancient yesterday (as far back as Eden when Eve had a ‘meet and greet’ with a most subtle beast…) so it is today…children initially hear that subtle voice of reason (from oftentimes hurt or angry family members-perhaps even the paternal mother) as to why you, as a father, are not around for the children as often as is desired. The first lie which kids hear and try to overcome on their own is what they have been initially told by others… that you don’t care enough about them to tell them the truth. (After all, doesn’t logic suggest you spend time with those you care about). The enemy plots for your absence, (yet you can counter-plot for his plots and cause him to flee in your absence through your proactive prayer life). You can build and fortify your house against the forces of the air (as God’s Spirit describes satan’s fallen position after being cast out of heaven like lightning, as now being the prince of the power of the air!) So, today we need a truth-filled example to compare these lies with about absences and ultimately bring out the truth of the matter in a different light.
You’ve heard of Moses (God called him out from leading sheep to leading God’s people out of Egypt). Ok, so Moses one of the greatest authors of all time (a deliverer…a father who had a relationship with God)…wrote it this way: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth….” Genisis 1:1. God took the time to explain “the beginning…” to Moses and as part of his need for these and other resources, equipped him to lead the people further into their destiny which was being built on faith. Now, Moses had his own dysfunctional family patterns to deal with while he was trying his best to serve God and others. He was definitely aware of the “struggle”… especially the multitasking, the situational awareness, the misunderstanding, the betrayal the fragmentation and the disappointments.
Moses..look up! Something is already handled on your behalf, oh visionary one called out and apart by God Himself. There’s something about the created hosts of heaven, the surety of distant stars, their assigned positions, that galactic prestructured order that is far above a fathers comprehension, yet speaks to the role of power, promise and leadership under intelligent spiritual command. Since God placed them there with purpose, so He places you as a father right here…with purpose, power and authority under God’s will for your particular generation’s assignment (you could have come 100 years before slavery..but you didn’t come until now). It’s the same with your kids after you…. especially those brought under your direct care or supervision. I believe Moses had these concepts to help him not to give up and to know that he isn’t alone in this experience. Heaven had his back!
One thing that helps fathers (such as Moses who actually sought for God’s presence too) is to ask, seek and get that vision (from God) for his family, both absent and present family members under your authority. You can then communicate from that place of understanding concerning their destiny in God. Then ask God to show you how to execute what He shows you. God hears and answers those prayers that are connected to His own heart! It is a destiny bigger than both you and all of them together, broader in scope and reaches into their future…all at the same time.
Prior to him writing this scripture verse, Moses was called away by God to spend some quality one on one time with God, concerning his own destiny…months away from the people he was leading. When he left, that “subtle” beast called ‘satan’ followed, kept them under surveillance, located and found some willing participants, (some listeners aka “doubters”)…had a meet and greet back at base camp about this ‘absentee father called Moses’ and an ‘absentee agenda’ from an insinuated ‘absentee God’. All lies without memorably rehearsed facts present to challenge it (other than God’s provision for the thousands of them that was ever present, and their own individual faith), yet nevertheless many believed the lies coupled with their emotions of restlessness and doubts about leaving polytheistic Egypt… they listened and heeded. They put pressure on Aaron (the priesthood) and he gave into the manipulation, the same witchcraft that worked in the garden of Eden with Eve. Here comes idolatry and the Golden calf….. and problems galore, to include punishments, family separations, death and a longer wilderness journey…just to mention a few. This is that backdrop in his generation.
We have our own concepts to use for ours. Let’s fast forward to today. God will show you more as you spend time with Him, here’s a few I have gathered.
Concept A: Relationship
When it’s bright outdoors, it’s not too difficult to see the individual trees that make up the tree lines of a forest. God will create the moment, eventually dispell a dark season in your sons walk , with the light of His very own countenance. It will illuminate his vision to now focus on the big picture… and not merely notice the creatures of the forest. They’ll release the nursery school inhibitions of “why, why, why…” and move towards “What’s next God? Here am I! I volunteer…!” Sons can identify the path they need to walk through the forest into their place of promise and effectiveness…no longer clouded by fear of the unknown. They need to be looking with anticipation for this moment to come. You, father, can speak this into their destiny. The moment of their new birth in God!
Concept B: The Word of God
When night comes around again, then it’s important to have a light source in order to see accurately enough to focus where you are heading in a very dark forest. We journey in both the day and night, and sons and daughters can navigate as they were instructed in the day…if there is enough light present. God’s word is like a lamp on our sneakers…like a torch lamp on those paths. If sons receive His word of instruction, they can better navigate the darkness of peer pressure, depression, manipulations, treachery and betrayal, and other supernatural based occurrences. Pray God’s Word takes root in their heart as they journey onward from this younger season of their lives. If they are trained in this realm…they will walk it out.
Concept C: Vigilance and Holiness
Now, of course, along the journey if you’re preparing yourself to lay down and sleep, then you’re not really heading anywhere at that time…so, may as well cut the lamp off, shut the eyes and snooze. Hope nothing jumps out to get you while you’re fast asleep. There are hedges for a reason (ever heard of a hedge-fund). You place hedges as lines of demarcation seperating your place of abode/ jurisdiction from that of an intruder… a stranger. ‘The angels of the Lord encamps around about them that fear (trust) Him…” Psalms 34:7 Fathers and sons can claim this promise of an “angelic protective hedge ” for themselves as well as over one another! It’s important to note here that vigilance is effective when you have one anothers back and are fighting for each other’s highest well being. Prayer is an important key here!
Sometimes God speaks from the hedge! Moses heard God and first saw the Angel of God’s presence in a “Bush” (a type of hedge). Insomuch as when Moses began to draw closer to this phenominal hedge…God said to him “Don’t come any closer…take off your shoes; you are now standing on Holy ground…” Exodus 3:5
Moses now entered into the “obedience” phase of his destiny. Moses wrestled with that phase, as most fathers do. Fathers, as you are drawn closer to God..you too will find that holiness will confront your own life first before you can come close enough to hear and effectively be lead by God to dispell and confront disobedience later on in the lives of your beloved. Take your shoes off, be truthfully transparent and obedient in your communications with God. It’s ok to confess your own shortcomings to Him here and your dependence on Him to help you through this. It’s worth it all…Moses could tell you some stuff man!
Can’t skip Jesus intervention for you at this juncture to even be able to freely approach God’s throne of Grace (unmerited favor)..because you are approaching God (whom you don’t see) through your faith… by way of Jesus Christ- God’s Son’s blood shed at crucifixion and His ressurrection power covering your past sins..making you a new creation! You can boldly come here to ask God to intervene on everything!! A new creation for a new day… and a new man! Can’t skip that order of creation. It has your name on it!
Concept D: Reflections
Sometimes the moon will assist you to see a little in the forest. It simply reflects the light it receives from the sun and relays it to the earth. Others who reflect the Son’s life in them can assist you by praying for you, encouraging you, helping you, challenging you…while in your dark hour. It doesn’t really take the place of you being an active participant in your own deliverance that you desire of God to do on your behalf. He’ll never set you up for failure…but God can use a failure of yours as a tool to set you up for success!
I recently had a flattened tire caused by a very small screw. It was bitter cold and dark… I had no usuable light and no tools for extraction. God gave me resources to get what I needed, (I had a spare but didn’t want the headache of more time consumption). He knew I wanted to fix the flat at the point of the breach… yet he showed the remedy to me in steps over the course of two hours. Now, mind you, I have fixed several car tire flats in my lifetime, but with all the proper tools present though. As each hour passed I grew upset at the frustration, the cost of this demise, the embarrassment, the cold and the isolation of being all alone while dealing with this problem. Then I heard…”did you ask God to assist you?” I got further frustrated, but opened my mouth and uttered for help. I saw my pride, arrogance..and I was ashamed of what I was listening myself say. So I began a longer conversation with God about my frustrations with everything…and prayed about a breakthrough. God answered, before I was finished praying…and continued instructing me further that very night. Problem is resolved, months later…still fixed, and spare is unused. Fathers are sons too…just older.
Ok, …but what about the Stars?
Concept E: Stars
When things are beyond your reach, when you observe there is nothing further that you can do that will affect the order of the cosmos… after having done all you can it’s important to stand and look at God’s finished handiwork. He has permitted certain instances and occurrences that are in play as part of His sovereignty and divine will. He is God, after all.
Yet, God enables you, as His chosen leader of the hour, to execute His will in the earth realm. There are rewards for obedience…some follow you into the next life because it is appointed unto man once to die…but afterwards, the judgement of our deeds will be in play. There is a harvest coming of things you sowed in your life and in the lives of others. There is also so much more going on in God’s creation and business plans than we see that we have been assigned to do here. It is written that we only see through a dark glass…dimly. We are stargazing with a telescope of tinted lens…with just the little knowledge that has been released to mankind so far. So be comfortable that you’re surrounded constantly by a host of activity on your behalf.
God made Stars for fathers. Although they have been placed in their individual spaces… miles apart…they are not alone in their function and existence. Neither are you. You have been unknowingly surrounded by a master plan of action that has weight, order, substance, power, glory, significance, seasons…I could go on, but it was all provided for you BEFORE you dealt with your first obstacle. “God got you covered!’ Nothing is too hard for you with God on your side leading you through life.
He taught Abraham how to become a father of nations using very old stars. He also used stars to remind him of an eternal promise among fathers. That promise is that your word is bond. Your words are sure when God backs you up. They will not return empty when you declare what God tells you to say.
There are galaxies, and solar systems. The vastness of the numbers of them…too wonderful to comprehend. Jesus spoke of God’s accounting of creation and said our hair strands are numbered, our worth is established…God has accounted for all of your existence. As a father, know you are not alone in this office of leadership in the family unit. God will continue guiding you as you use your faith. As you seperate yourself from the crowds of onlookers…as a father of fathers in your community…It may leave you with a slight sense of isolation (as other fathers won’t go the same distance that you will go to perform God’s desires within your family). But there is an order to things. You’re getting in line to receive the blessings of faithful Abraham. Know that Abraham made his mistakes too, but it didn’t cancel his destiny. Today, even Muslims recognize hierarchy and identify and include themselves under Abrahams family genealogy. Now…they don’t believe witnesses of Jesus in all that God sent Jesus to accomplish for the sins of mankind. But they understand the role of a father and his siblings. It’s the God of this world that blinds minds from the truth. God’s Word is truth. He enlists fathers to tell the truth. Use God’s word to make a Stellar impact on your generation…and to be a finisher of the race you run.
they see what you do
they hear what you say
they muster up courage
Then they ask “Dad….what are you doing?”
Your answer means everything, as you lead them while you’re being led.