Father's Day Inspiration from Bible Dads
It can be easy to feel alone in your responsibilities as a dad and so it’s great to have examples from those who have gone before. There are loads of father figures in the Bible who had different challenges to grapple with. Let’s look at three of them and see what they might teach us about parenting for faith.
Joseph was essentially Jesus’ stepdad. He had to get his head around a responsibility that he didn’t really sign up for, whilst dealing with stigma and judgement from other people. So, what can we learn from him?
Don’t worry if you don’t feel up to the task. Fight the fear and have a go anyway.
Have you ever wondered how Joseph felt about raising Jesus? I doubt he thought ‘I’ve got this covered, no problem’. It can be easy to feel like we’d rather defer to someone with more expertise or experience or that we'll just wait until we’ve got our relationship with God a bit more sorted before we let our children have a look at it. But, the truth is that it is you that God has placed in your child’s life and you are perfectly positioned to show them the reality of a day-to-day life with Him.
Be brave and start creating windows into little bits of your relationship with God – pray aloud in the car, leave your Bible out or share a way that He’s helped you. You can help them understand what’s going on by framing it for them. Explain what they’re looking at and how they can do it too. You don’t need to have all the answers to their questions. Session 2 (from 18:20) shows you how to explore the answers to the things that you don’t know together.
Eli struggled with parenting his own sons but had been put in a mentoring/fathering type role for Samuel. With this new opportunity he didn’t get what was going on straight away but when he did he took the opportunity to connect Samuel directly to God. So from Eli, we can be inspired to...
Teach them to connect with God in their everyday life.
You can empower your children to pray at any time and in any situation and know that God is with them, regardless of whether or not you are too. So give them some prompts and ideas for things to chat to God about. Remind them that He is there and wants to know anything and everything that they have to say to Him.
Teach them how to receive words, pictures, ideas, thoughts and feelings from Him. If this is new to you, you can do it together. Session 5 ‘Catch’ talks you through all the different ways God can speak and how you and your child can receive them. It took Eli three attempts before he realised God was speaking to Samuel but once he’d clocked it, he helped him and showed him how to take it further. ‘Catch’ will equip you do the same with your child. Don't worry, if like Eli, it takes you a little while to get your head around.
Jairus was a worried dad. His daughter had an issue, in this case her health, and he’d tried everything to help her. He was probably an excellent father but was dealing with something that he couldn’t fix. He reminds us of a valuable lesson about our own prayer life.
Ask God for what your kids need.
All dads, whether or not they live with their children or work away, can pray for their kids. Lots of you also have the chance to pray with them too. You might like to find a time or place that prompts you to do this on your own or do it with your children at bedtime or another time that works for you family. When they’ve had a rough day you can come alongside them and help them connect to God and receive what they need from Him. You don’t need to have all the answers to their struggles and challenges. Whether the issue right now is their friends, their grades, their self-esteem, their drinking, their behaviour… God knows and He’s bigger than that. In Luke 8, Jairus knows that his little girl needs help and he has the faith and boldness to go to Jesus and ask for it. As you look after your family, don’t forget that your Heavenly Father wants to look after you too and that He loves and cares for your kids even more than you do.