A Father’s heart

August 20, 2009 at 11:53 pm 2 comments


One of the greatest privileges I have in Life is being a father to my two children. (I share the related privilege of being a parent with my wife of 21+ years, and while I write this little piece from a father’s perspective, in no way does it detract from my wife’s perspective as a mother. Hopefully, she will also share her views on this subject via this medium!) Among the many things that always immediately and unconditionally lifts my spirit is thinking about my children, remembering all the shared moments right from their birth until the present, and looking forward to the good things that God is going to bring their way. As a father, I have the privilege and responsibility to provide for and protect them, and so far, with God’s Grace and ever present help in every step of the way, and in spite of my many failings, I believe I have done relatively well.

Just as I delight in my children, I believe that God our Father who considers us His children also delights in us the same way. In Zechariah 2:8, the prophet refers to Israel (God’s people – ultimately you and me) as the apple of God’s eye. Just as compassion stirs in my heart for my children, so it does in God the Father towards us (Psalms 103:13). In various verses in the Good Book, God has modeled Fatherhood for us. He not only protects and provides for us His children (Mt 6:7,8, Mt 7:9-11), He also disciplines those He loves, just as a father would discipline his son or daughter (Prov 3:11,12). This discipline is not punishment, but the gentle correction and guidance that a father needs to provide to his children, since we are prone to wander!

My children have grown up, moving up into and past their teenage years, with my son entering his undergrad freshman year and my daughter getting ready to move into her undergrad senior year. While they no longer need (and in fact avoid!) the same, constant attention required when they were babies or toddlers, they do have their needs and my responsibility is no lesser. While our hope (and a requirement for their “growin’ up”) is that, in time, they will stand independently on their own, I know my wife and I will be ready in a flash to come to their aid whenever and with whatever they need.

In the very same way, God is sensitive to our position in Him, knows where we are in our walk, and provides and intervenes appropriately. A good example is the way in which the Lord deals with Peter: Matthew 14 records how Peter’s simple faith results in this brash disciple stepping out of the boat and walking on water just because Jesus said “come”. In verse 31, we see how Jesus “immediately reached out his hand and caught him” when Peter took his eyes off Jesus and seeing the wind, became scared and began to sink. And in John 21, Jesus gently reinstated Peter when he asked him thrice whether he loves Jesus, thrice to erase Peter’s three prior betrayals. However, later in the same chapter, Jesus shows how Peter would die for the Cause in the future, revealing how Peter fits into God’s purpose for Mankind.

Coming back to my life: While my Mom taught my brother and I about God, and modeled it via her life, my Dad modeled Fatherhood for the two of us. Always a gentle person, I don’t remember him ever losing his patience with me. I only remember one occasion of him pushing me very gently towards my ultimate choice of a major in Engineering: I wanted to become a mechanical engineer, and he advised me to choose the upcoming “Electronics and Communications” specialization. This timely and crucial advice finally resulted in what I am today. Always a tinkerer, he used to repair all sorts of items both large and small for friends and relatives. He involved us in these “adventures”, and we used to spend hours watching and helping him. It was during these memorable moments that I learnt a lot about how stuff works, what tools and techniques to use to solve a vexing issue, how to take things apart and put them back together, all essential skills in my everyday work as an Database and Application performance troubleshooter. While I don’t have his patience and haven’t had the opportunity to do the same kind of “lepair” (as we used to call it) with my own children, we have enjoyed lots of other adventures together and had wonderful and memorable times. Just as my Dad did for me, I hope that I have been able to assist and guide my children in making important decisions as well, and know that I will do so in the future as well. Although I haven’t been (and never will be) perfect,  I also hope that I have modeled fatherhood to some extent for my son, just as my Dad did for me.

And this brings me to an important point: I don’t know what your relationship is with your children (if you are a parent) or your parents (especially your father). We are all frail humans – me, you, your parents and mine, your children and mine – but our Father in heaven is God is perfect (Matt 5:48). While we are supposed to be perfect like Him, our parents were not perfect, nor will we be as well. The need of the moment is to put past hurts and negative experiences behind us, and consider how we can change for the better, especially in how we interact with our children. We can replace any negative models we have, either of fathers or of ourselves, with the Perfect model from above.

Just like Paul stated in Phil 3:12-14, I cannot (and never will be able to) claim to have obtained maturity or perfection, whether in that delightful journey called fatherhood or in my walk with Christ. However,  one thing I aim to do: forget my past failures and lost opportunities and strain toward what is ahead, and press on toward that goal that God has set for me. Would you also do join with me in resolving to do the same for yourself? If we do so, I believe we can make the world a little better for ourselves and our children, and will create a model for others in our life to follow…..

Finally, for my children, I want to say this: I thought we had an agreement that you would never grow up! Now that you already have grown up, Mom and I will stand by the sidelines and cheer you on as you take wing and fly. Our prayer is that by basing your life on His Word, you will become all that God intended you to become, and enjoy all that He has in store for you. And as you go along in this journey called Life, we will be there as long as we can, to pray, provide, support, assist and love!

In Him,

John

Verses used in this post:

Zec 2:8: For this is what the LORD Almighty says: “After he has honored me and has sent me against the nations that have plundered you–for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye—

Psalms 103:13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him

Matt 6:7-8 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This, then, is how you should pray: ” `Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,….”

Matt 7:9-10 “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Prov 3:11,12 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

Matt 14:28-31 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said.     Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.

John 21:17-19 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

Matt 5:48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Phil 3:12-14 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

From two to one John 3:16 Day

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lue-Yee Tsang  |  October 1, 2009 at 1:21 am

    Hello, Mr Kanagaraj. I’m a friend of Sam’s from Crossroads, but I think I’ve never had the privilege of meeting her dad. Anyway, I’m just here to say hi.

    Peace be with you,
    Lue-Yee

    Reply
  • 2. No more teenagers! « Letters from a Layman  |  December 2, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    […] type of parent-child relationship is special, there is something unique about the relationship between a father and a son (just as the relationship between a mother and daughter is unique – there are just some things […]

    Reply

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