A blog by Josh Humbert
This is the second post in a series about one solution to the majority of problems our country faces. If you missed part one, you can read it here.
I Will Scissor-Kick A Nurse
On April 6, 2009 at 8:17pm, my wife gave birth to our first child; my son, Caleb. The emotions and realities of that moment are unexplainable. I was a father! I have a son! I’m a daddy.
Now, I’m certainly no expert on fatherhood but it’s almost strange how quickly my son gripped my heart. You see, the first day or so after he was born, the doctors and nurses constantly do all manner of tests. And one in particular was called the PKU test (if I remember correctly). Apparently this involved cutting Caleb’s foot and drawing some blood out. Something along those lines.
Anyways, the nurse brings Caleb back to Jessica and me and he is…of course…crying! The nurse brilliantly observes, “Well, he didn’t like that one!” I quickly grabbed Caleb and handed him to Jessica. We just huddled together in that room. A new family. Together. Just us three.
Here’s the thing, though—look, I know the test was for his benefit. I get that the pain they put him through was for his health. But STILL…I was ready to GO TO BATTLE to protect my son!
I said out loud to my wife, “I will SCISSOR-KICK A NURSE if they try and mess with MY son!” She said something about me “taking things too far” but I didn’t care.
The Perfect Father
One of the most important truths you can ever grasp is this: at the heart of all existence is a perfect and loving Father who is just, gracious, and full of redeeming love. He is the God of the Bible.
189 times in the Gospels alone Jesus refers to God as “Father.” Over and over all throughout His Word, the metaphor of God being a Father is used. When Jesus teaches His disciples a way of praying, He begins with “Our Father, who is in Heaven.” God makes it plain and clear for us: we are to think of Him as Father.
He isn’t just like our dads down here on earth. He isn’t just a slightly better version of them. He isn’t your dad 2.0. He is altogether perfect and loving. He is the best Father. That’s who God is.
And if we are to have any hope of recovering and restoring the role of fathers in our culture today, we would be wise to look to the One who invented this in the first place.
Access And Adoption
Are we all God’s children, though? Does everyone belong to God’s family? Do we all get to call to Him as Father? No. The truth is that Jesus tells us about God’s family very plainly in John 14. Jesus says:
“I am the Way, the Truth, the Life, and no one comes to Father but through Me.”
That’s about as clear and simple as it gets. Jesus is our access and acceptance into God’s adoption process (Romans 8). It is only by the Person and work of Jesus Christ that we are granted access to God’s family.
It all goes back to a Father and a Son. And a plan to save the world.
Is God Good?
There is the question that everyone asks, “Is God good?” “How could God be good if (fill in the blank with a catastrophe) happened? Why didn’t He stop that?” I would certainly affirm there are things in this life that I cannot understand. This is a brutal, savage, violent world and humans have done some unspeakably horrific things to each other during our time here. In my finite mind, I struggle to grasp it all. I don’t have the answers and I don’t think we get them all on this side of eternity.
So I don’t discount the question or wave it off. It is a question that has a place. There is room for good discussion on this in the framework of sound theology.
But BEFORE we ask those questions, there is (as Tim Keller notes) a different question that must be asked. It is this: If Jesus is God’s Son, what was He doing on that Cross?
That must be dealt with first.
You see, I had known my son just a short while and I was ready to…as the kids say… “go ham” on that nursing staff for slightly hurting my son for the good of his long-term health. Actually, let me clarify even more: I was ready to go ham, steak, chicken, pork, veal, venison, spam, sloppy-joe, and whatever type of meat-product is in McDonald’s stuff on that nursing staff.
You hurt my son? I’m ready to pull a collar. I’m down to lock my hooks in and get you in a guillotine choke that would make a UFC fighter jealous. This is my son. I will protect him.
But God is different. Perhaps the most famous verse in all of Scripture tells us of this revolutionary love: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” That’s John 3:16.
If God is good, then why was His Son (literally, God in the flesh! God with us!) hanging on a bloody cross? Why was Jesus experiencing the worst kind of death imaginable? How could God ALLOW THAT to happen?
Justice And Mercy
God’s revolutionary love is such that He didn’t just ALLOW that to happen to His Son…He planned it. Jesus going to the Cross was the means of our salvation all along.
It was the Father’s perfect plan to redeem sinners like you and me who have rebelled against Him. We’ve all “voted” Him out of office and tried to follow our own plans. Satan tempted Eve in the garden that SHE could take over; that she would “be like God,” and we have all bought that same lie in our lifetime. All of us run from Him and His ways.
The Cross was the place to pay the price for all our sin. Jesus lived a perfect life of obedience to the Father and willingly laid down His life on our behalf. God is just, so He cannot and should not just ignore our waywardness, our open rebellion against Him. No good father ignores outright disrespect and disdain. There must be discipline and consequences.
God loved the world so much that He made a way of escape for us. There is ONE way we don’t ever face those consequences. We believe and place our faith in Jesus, who embraced those consequences for us. When Jesus and His finished work become the treasure of our hearts and what we live for, then God adopts us into His family and we never face the wrath we deserve.
The Cross perfectly satisfies the justice of a good dad and displays the mercy of a loving Father.
The Cross is where a Father did NOT protect His Son from the worst pain of all. The Cross is where a Father would turn His back on His Son and let the darkness close in. The Cross is where a Father would destroy His Son so that all the wayward sons and daughters could find new life, love, and meaning.
Jesus is God’s Son. So what was He doing on that Cross? Demonstrating the Father’s outrageous, radical, redemptive love toward a world of bitter pain and broken hearts. Jesus on the Cross means no one ever has to be alone and fatherless anymore. No one.
I wouldn’t give my son up to save the world. God did. That is the Father’s love. That is the goodness of God.
Our Sinful Fathers
The fatherhood of God may very well bring up a reservoir of stress in your heart. You don’t want to think about God being a Father. It is painful and confusing. Why?
Our own sinful fathers here on earth. They make mistakes. They don’t realize the power they have. They blow it. They hurt us. They hurt you.
So are we free to just skip this doctrine? I don’t think so.
There are other titles and metaphors God uses for Himself that we don’t know what to do with at first. Jesus is the King of Kings, right? Well, I’ve never served a king in my lifetime. I live in America; we don’t really have kings (unless you count the Sacramento Kings….which aren’t exactly royalty). Most of the kings I’ve read about in history end up terrible. Does that mean I just do away the concept of Jesus as a King because at first glance it is hard for me to appropriate it or grasp it? No.
It means the call is for me to let God shape my view over time. Let Him do His work. Through His Word and His presence, He will gently teach and guide me into what it means for Him to be a Father in my life. Over time, He will shift your focus. Your first thought won’t be the mistakes of your earthly dad but instead the beautiful promises of Scripture and what He reveals to you about Himself and His heart toward you.
This is what a Good Father does.
Crying Out For Fathers
Our culture is rotting from the inside and it’s from the lack of fathers. Remember that list from part one? All the problems our country faces. I want you to read these statistics and see the widespread damage that face the fatherless. And I want you to remember that each statistic is a real person. These aren’t just numbers on a page. It’s a little boy lost in this world saying, “Father of mine, tell me where did you go?” It’s a young girl desperate for love crying, “You had the world inside your hands but you did not seem to know.”
IN SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Center for Disease Control
85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes.
Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 12% of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44% of children in mother-only families.
Being raised by a single mother raises the risk:
National Principals Association
Research shows that even very young children who have experienced high father involvement show an increase in curiosity and in problem-solving capacity. Father involvement seems to encourage children’s exploration of the world around them and confidence in their ability to solve problems.
Children living with their married biological father test at a significantly higher level than those living with nonbiological father.
US Dept. of Justice
70% of youths at state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes.
Texas Dept. of Corrections
85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes.
Fatherless boys and girls are: twice as likely to end up in jaill; four times more likely to need help for emotional and behavioral problems.
Journal of Research on Adolescence
Even after controlling for income, youths in father-absent households still face significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds.
US Dept. of Health
63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.
US Bureau of the Census
90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
US Dept. of Health and Human Services
71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father.
National Fatherhood Initiative
The absence of a biological father increases a daughter’s vulnerability to rape and sexual abuse by 900% (often times by stepfathers or boyfriends of the mother). And no that isn’t a typo….900% it is.
Fathers ARE The Solution
We cannot vote-out dad or pretend he doesn’t matter. We cannot ignore this. Either we recover fatherhood or the flood of damage we already see will wipe so many more away.
Fathers matter because there is one Father who matters above all. There is a Good, Perfect, and Loving Father and He has designed us this way. The need for a father is engraved in us all by God, the Ultimate Father.
There is no escaping the design of our hearts. People can hide, pretend, put up a brave front, ignore, or deny their need for a loving father—but it is hard-wired into them. Remember how Art penned it? “You would take me to the movies, take me to the beach. Take me to a place inside that is so hard to reach.” The simple truth is that we have been created with a crucial place in our hearts that only fathers can grasp.
It is no accident that SO much of life is influenced by fathers. This was the plan all along. Fathers matter because the Ultimate Father matters.
Encouragements On The Way
So what do we do with all of this? What comes next? How do we recover Biblical fatherhood? What can each of us do to change things for the better? How will we see a revival of dads?
If you’ve made it through part one and two, thank you for staying with me. Part three will be full of encouragements and practical helps. I pray you will come back and hear some helpful words. They arrive next week.
As always, thanks for reading. Your comments and feedback are always welcomed.
Sites for further research: