A blog by Josh Humbert
“Let me tell you a secret about a father’s love….”
Becoming a parent begins a monumental shift in your life. And, even though I know this next phrase can seem condescending, it is true…until you become a parent, you just can’t know how much your life will change. That baby will bring change…and lots of it.
Now, your mind may go to the “big” changes—finances, housing, learning what exactly a “diaper genie” does, etc, etc. Yes, those big changes do need to be considered.
However, there are even smaller changes that no one really tells you about. You may begin asking questions like:
Who invented the jars of baby-food and why did they decide a mixture of carrots, cauliflower, and beets would be appealing to a 6 month old? Has that person ever TRIED that mixture themselves?
Aren’t the “serving sizes” of baby foods awesome? For instance, for Gerber Puffs, a serving size is 70 puffs! AND….those 70 puffs only contain a total of 25 calories!! Why don’t they make adult-food like this? Why haven’t we come up with M&M’s like this? Eat 70 M&M’s and you only gain 25 calories. Tell me you wouldn’t put THAT in your grocery cart every week, right?! Someone get on this!
When do babies gain the skill of being able to mess their diaper RIGHT after you change them and put a clean one on them? I think my son gained this skill at 3 months. It’s his signature move! I tell my wife that it’s like he just wants a “fresh canvas” for his “masterpiece.” And belieeeeeve me, dude can “paint”!
You will think about all this and much more as you become a parent for the first time. Even my reading habits have changed. I will be on baby/parenting websites as often as I’m on sports-related websites…….ok, ok, that’s not totally true. But, I do frequent parent-websites now and that was something I’d never done before.
And so, recently, I was reading a parenting book (again, even my library book choices have changed!….and yes, I use the library often, don’t judge me) and I came across a quote about raising a boy. It went like this:
“Every boy needs a man who is 100% FOR them.”
As I read that, I said it out-loud to myself…. “Every boy needs a man who is 100% FOR them.”
Immediately, I knew I wanted this to be true of my relationship with Caleb (and the new boy as well when he arrives…and any other children we may have!). I want my son to know that I am 100% FOR him. I want there to never be any question about the love and support of his dad.
I am FOR my son.
I will always be FOR my son.
No matter what happens in his life or mine, I will always be FOR him.
Now, the key is what that “FOR” means. In this case, I think what the author is implying is that as Caleb’s dad, I am on his side. I want the best for him. I want the ultimate good for him. I am FOR Caleb.
To be sure, this doesn’t mean that I will give him whatever he wants or spoil him. Just because I’m for him doesn’t mean I’ll let him eat ice cream for breakfast or any other crazy request he comes up with. To be FOR his best means I must discipline him when he needs it and guide him even when he thinks he knows better.
Ultimately, to be FOR my son means I am called to be a parent who loves his son enough to discipline him and seek out what is best for him, not just what he wants.
I think this quote is true and it’s a good one for new parents to consider as I think it applies for daughters and sons and moms and dads. As I thought about it for a while, a sweet realization hit me:
I have a Father who is FOR me.
God the Father is FOR me.
As a Christian, I know without any doubt or reservation, that God is 100% FOR me. This indeed is a sweet realization. As an amazing bonus, God has blessed me with an earthly father who is for me too. I love my Pops and if I can be a dad like him, my kids will be blessed, as I have been. But the truth I am writing of now and what is available to you as well is the deep love of God the Father.
This is astounding when I consider the depth of my sin and how I was once God’s enemy. This is one of the themes Paul weaves throughout Romans. I know that before salvation, I was against God (Romans 8:6-8) and that what I deserved for my sins was death (Romans 6:23). My sin ran up a debt I cannot pay and it separated me from God, who is Holy.
How then, is God FOR me, in spite of all I’ve done? How can He be on my side when I’ve done so many things AGAINST His commands and His Word? How can He be FOR someone who’s been AGAINST Him?
The answer is His Son—Jesus Christ.
In Romans 5, Paul lays out a beautiful passage (recommend memorizing it!) that goes like this:
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
It is because of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that I can have “peace” with God. Jesus paid my debt, took the wrath I deserved, and offers me a relationship with a loving Father who is 100% FOR me.
It is because of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that I am no longer an enemy of God, but a child of God (1 John 3:1). I am no longer condemned but loved and helped by God (Romans 8). Isn’t this astonishingly good news?
Why is God for me? Not for any thing I’ve done or said, but because His Son is my Lord and Savior.
So what does it mean for God the Father to be “FOR” me? There is plenty of shallow theology going around today that basically implies “Yes, God is for you, and this means He just wants to give you stuff—money, health, prosperity.” I would say this is not at all what it means for God to be FOR you. Like a good father who denies the ice cream-for-breakfast request, God is wise about what is best for us.
Money, health, prosperity—these are all good things and God does bless us with these things and many more. However, God is for my ultimate good, and I know that earthly things such as these are NOT where I will find ultimate good. These things will all pass away and have no eternal value (Matthew 6:19-24).
Where my ultimate good is found is in God and bringing Him glory. He is FOR me loving and worshipping Him—because that is the ultimate good. That is what will matter in eternity.
He saves me from hell, forgives all my sin, gives me a new heart, supplies me with His strength, and has a plan for my life. That is so much better than a God who just gives me more in my bank account.
And, as He is a Loving Father, He will discipline me when appropriate. Romans 5 isn’t expressly about God’s discipline, but I love how Paul describes how our tribulations bring about better things like perseverance, proven character, and hope. I know that because God is FOR me, even in the tough times of life, He is shaping me to be the man I’m supposed to be. His plan, even in the dark times, is trustworthy…because He is for me.
Near the end of the movie “Catch Me if You Can” there is a meeting between a father and a son. The son, Frank Jr., and the father, Frank Sr., are meeting at a bar. Frank Jr. has been cheating and scamming his way through life, deceiving many people to make all his money. His father, Frank Sr., who surely loves his son to some degree, hasn’t disciplined his son at all. In fact, Frank Sr. seems to be supportive of his son’s deceptive ways, asking him where he will go next.
Frank Jr. is crying out for help, and for discipline. His father doesn’t come through. They have the following exchange:
Son: I had an FBI agent come see me.
Father: You got their number, son.
Son: The guy looked scared.
Father: The United States government, champ, running for the hills. Pow! To the moon!
Son: Dad… it’s over. I’m going to stop now.
Father: But y-you’ve…They’re never going to catch you, Frank. Come on, sit. Come on, sit with me. Have a drink…….I’m your father.
Son: Then ask me to stop……..Then ask me to stop.
Father: You can’t stop…..Where are you going? Come on, Frank, where are you going? Where are you going? Where are you going tonight? Someplace exotic? Where are you going tonight? Tahiti, Hawaii?
Absolutely chilling words from a son to a father—“then ask me to stop.” Frank Jr. knows that if his father loved him deeply and was truly FOR him, he wouldn’t laugh and snicker in support of his son’s wayward lifestyle. Frank Jr. senses that what he desperately needs is a father whose love is deep and full of conviction—not spineless and whimsical. A father who is truly for him would love him enough to set him straight and help bring about good traits in his life instead of deception and lies. No matter how much the son might bristle at the guidance and discipline, the loving father would provide it.
So it is with the Heavenly Father. His love is much, much deeper than just being a cosmic-ATM, someone just waiting to follow our commands and grant all our wishes. He is not laughing and supporting of our wayward times. He certainly isn’t apathetic or busy with something else more important.
Instead, His salvation frees us from sin’s grasp. His strength flows through us to advance His fame. His wisdom makes all things work together for our good. His discipline grows us into maturity. His blessings are infinitely richer than just earthly possessions. His grace restores us when we fall down. His love is deeper and stronger than any earthly love and in our good times and our bad, if we are His children, it declares “I am FOR YOU!”
My hope is that I respond to God’s love and direction in my life, even when it doesn’t seem clear. I know, through His Word and through experiences in my past, that He is a Perfect and Loving Father. When I think about His demonstration of His love—sending His own Son to the Cross for my sin—I know without a shadow of a doubt: He is FOR me.
What a humbling truth.
Maybe your earthly father has been against you. Maybe he has let you down when you needed it most, like Frank Jr. Maybe he never heard your cry for help. Maybe you don’t have an earthly father present and therefore, this seems hard to grasp. Those are all very realistic scenarios and if they are true for you, my heart is saddened.
But read and know this: God stands ready to be your Perfect and Loving Father. Not just a better version of your earthly dad….a Perfect and Loving Father. He will be 100% FOR you, in ways you can’t even know or imagine. There may not be ANYONE else in your life who wants the ultimate good for you, who cares about you getting the best….but God will.
That’s who He is. He will be for you.
“Let me tell you a secret about a father’s love… you see, Daddies don’t just love their children every now and then. It’s a love without end, amen. It’s a love without end, amen.”
Welcome your feedback in comments or messages. Yes, I know used a country song in here and no, I haven’t lost my mind. Thanks for reading.