Fatherhood is a meaningful and rewarding journey. But it is certainly not without challenges. Who do we turn to when we have exhausted all our means? A Covenanter shares his journey as a father to his son, and as a son to our Heavenly Father.
Different sets of difficulties arise at each season of parenting. Finding the fine balance between letting go and guiding a young adult child can be tough. Sometimes, this is where our surrender to God is tested.
“Lord, all I want is the best for my child. Why does it have to be so difficult to father him?”
Wishes as a Father
I had prayed that God will help my son to do alright in school, help him to graduate without too much hassle, and grant him a nice career thereafter. All I had wished for was for my son to be able to take good care of himself, in the future perhaps get married and be able to take care of his own family. In my mind, it was not too much to ask from God. I believed that I have done all I can to point my child to Him and to help him succeed in school.
As my son struggled with mainstream education, I had stubbornly insisted that just like many before him, he can cope and eventually graduate through this system. All I could think of was to help him complete his education, so that he can find a job and be able to provide for himself.
At Wits’ End
A gentle voice spoke as I prayed, “Whose son is he?” I realised it was the Lord’s whisper.
Inevitably, the pressure to keep up crushed him, and depression set in. I felt defeated as I recounted the hours I invested in coaching and cheering him on, and all the money spent on tuition and other such help. My son didn’t agree to all the alternative plans I had to help him continue his education. The disagreements between us drove a wedge in our relationship. I was at my wits’ end.
In my despondency, I cried to the Lord and asked, “Lord, all I want is the best for my child. Why does it have to be so difficult to father him?” A gentle voice spoke as I prayed, “Whose son is he?” I realised it was the Lord’s whisper. In that pivotal moment I broke, “He is Your child, Lord. He is Yours.” The Lord’s voice spoke both rebuke and assurance, “Then will you trust me to father my own child?” That was all I needed to hear to recognise how reluctant I was to surrender my son. The Lord showed me that my security for him was in his academic performance, more than Christ in his life.
Trusting God Anew
In that moment, I entrusted my son to the Lord, the One who knows the plans He has for both me and my child. Instead of always being ready to intervene in my anxiety, I learned to intercede for my son. I learned to trust the Lord to guide him. I learned to trust God anew as my own Heavenly Father. In this faith journey, I found healing as a father.
Without my intervention, my son explored the possibility of different private schools and enrolled in one. Today, he has completed his diploma and is currently completing his final term of an online bachelor’s degree course. I saw him take on his own choices with a commitment I had not witnessed before. Most important of all, he prayed to receive Jesus as His Lord and Saviour in the aftermath of my surrender, and is now growing with his Covenant Group (CG).
Redeemed by Love and Grace
“As I see my shortcomings and failures, I see God’s love and grace redeeming me.”
Sometimes, I would look back and wonder what took me so long to surrender. As I see my shortcomings and failures, I see God’s love and grace redeeming me. He is truly our loving and gracious Father in whose hands we can safely place our lives and the lives of our children.
(The writer has requested for his name to be kept anonymous.)