Column: Couch’s Corner

An earthly father’s influence on his children can potentially affect how the children view God.

I was blessed to grow up with a dad who loved and supported me unconditionally. Some of my earliest childhood memories are comprised of me watching my dad as he was preparing to leave the house for work.

I would watch him slip on his shiny dress shoes and think of how excited I was to grow up and be able to shave and dress up for work each morning like my dad.

When I grew older, I began to think deeply about the Bible stories that my parents would read to my older brother and me every morning at breakfast. Dad would explain how the Lord is our heavenly Father and how he loved us so much that he allowed evil men to kill his son Jesus so that we could all go to Heaven someday if we chose to ask Jesus into our hearts.

I remember wondering often what God looked like and how I should imagine him. “He’s probably a lot like my dad,” I would tell myself. 

My dad was gentle and playful with my siblings and me while also demonstrating how to be a healthy authority figure. He always told me that I could come to him with any mistake, and he would always listen to me. 

It made sense to me that God was similar to my dad. As my prayer life started to intensify when I was in middle school, approaching the Lord through prayer became a joy and comfort to me. I knew that I could come before my heavenly Father with love and reverence and not fear rejection because of the way my dad had always been towards me.

Because my dad was pursuing Christ, he looked like the Christ I read about in the Bible. That is a testimony in itself.

During high school, I had a front row seat to my dad’s life as a pastor. Being the son of a pastor is difficult. I watched him endure so much from people within the church who desired to keep the truth of the Gospel from going forth. 

It was the most painful time in my life as I watched the man I loved and respected so much be despised and disrespected by people who professed to follow Jesus. To this day, my late high school years carry beneficial yet painful memories.

I remember Dad telling me that he hoped the persecution I was witnessing him go through wouldn’t make me bitter towards the Lord later in life.

God had used my dad’s Christ-like example while I was young to ingrain within me how believers are to live. My dad is far from perfect, but watching him restrain from retaliation and instead choose to forgive when provoked was edifying to my spiritual growth during my teen years. I clung to the promises that I knew to be true from Scripture. The tribulations my dad was struggling through were momentary in light of eternity. The Lord allows for his servants to be tested but never allows for it to be beyond what they can endure.

I understand that not everyone has a healthy relationship with their earthly father. Praise Jesus that no matter what your past holds, God loves you and is a good Father. He is consistent and present regardless of whether your earthly father is or not.

I pray that if you have a broken relationship with your father you will not allow this column to discourage you or think that I am placing my dad on a pedestal. My dad elevated Christ first in his life, and consequently, I was able to see Christ-like character exemplified daily.  

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13).

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