“…To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children… to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’” (Luke 1:17)
When the Old Testament prophet Malachi prophesied the birth of John the Baptist, he predicted he would prepare the way of the Messiah by exhorting fathers to prioritize their relationships with their children. The challenging truth by application is that the way of the Lord in the lives of children is prepared when fathers are faithful in their responsibility toward their children.
One example of this reality is when our Lord taught His disciples how to pray, He instructed us to address God as “Our Father.” What images come into our minds when we address God in this way? Our relationships to our earthly fathers can strongly influence the way we perceive our heavenly Father.
As a pastor I’ve had parishioners say to me in private, “When I address God as my father I experience a spiritual short circuit.” When asked to tell about their earthly father I often heard a story about a very dysfunctional father/child relationship.
Professional Christian clinical psychologists and psychiatrists strongly reinforce the hard reality of the profound influence fathers have in the lives of their children. The profound truth that was focused when the life and ministry of John the Baptist was profiled is confirmed in millions of lives every day.
As we in America call this Sunday “Father’s Day,” may the vision statement that was prophesied for John the Baptist raise awareness in all of us who are fathers of the solemn mission objective we have been assigned by God when He made us fathers.
Dick Woodward, 20 June 2010