Max Lucado once said, “God sees us with the eyes of a Father. He sees our defects, errors and blemishes. But He also sees our value” (Evans). Fathers are a unique gift from God. But, they also have a unique God-given duty and ability to nurture, love, discipline, encourage, and protect their children in a way that exemplifies Christ’s love and faithfulness. The holy, eternal Father that Max Lucado talks about is the ultimate example of how godly fathers should lead their children responsibly and lovingly while being whole-heartedly devoted to Christ. My personal experiences, God’s Holy Word, and statistics all make a point that fathers are a vital part of a child’s life.
To begin with, I want to share examples of fatherhood in my life. My biological mother died when I was six years old, which pushed my biological father into a downward spiral of addictions that had already begun to control his life. Consequently, my brother and I went to live with extended family while he tried to sort out his life; then, he brought us back to live with him two years later. My dad seemed better, but eventually problems arose as he slipped into addictions again. He passed away two years later when I was eleven years old, and we went to live with friends in the area. Providentially, we were adopted into a loving home without drugs, alcohol, disorder, or uncertainties. Looking back, I have realized that my biological father had a duty to discipline, love, and nurture his family in godly wisdom and love, but instead, he let his addictions control his life. On the other hand, my adopted father is a godly father that walks with God daily, loves me, and enriches my life with Biblical wisdom. He lovingly disciplines me and
puts God first in his life. I am thankful for the godly father I now have and these experiences through which I have learned of God’s grace and mercy. I have truly seen fatherhood in a special way.
Beyond my personal experiences, fatherhood is a recurring theme throughout the Bible. God’s Word tells the true stories of many fathers: from Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes of Israel, to Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. But, perhaps two of the most prominent fathers are Abraham and God himself. Abraham was far from perfect, but despite Abraham’s imperfections, a Holy God used “Father Abraham” to start the Hebrew nation. Abraham was a good father, though flawed: he lied to Pharaoh about Sarai being his wife, among other sins recorded in the Bible. Abraham’s story shows that no earthly father will be perfect, but fathers that walk with God will be blessed. Abraham learned to love God above his promised child, Isaac, and was in turn blessed by God with a nation that outnumbered the stars, as recorded in Genesis 15:4-5. Like Abraham, good and responsible fathers must put God before their children. Earthly fathers, like Abraham, must rely on the strength of their perfect Heavenly Father to lead and guide them in their weaknesses.
Far beyond the reach of human fatherhood is God Himself, a perfect father overflowing with loving discipline and protection. Hebrews 12:9-11 teaches us that God disciplines us because He wants us to partake in his holiness. But, he disciplines His children in love as a father does, as stated in Proverbs 3:12 (Livingstone). God ultimately disciplines His children so that they can become more like Him while also protecting them under the shadow of His wings. But most importantly, God cares for His children beyond measure. From Psalm 86:15, it is clear that God abounds in love – not a conditional love, but a love that gives a life of fulfillment and joy with a hope of eternal life to each child of His. God the Father is the best example of what a truly godly father is meant to be: chastising, loving, and protecting.
Lastly, statistics show that fatherhood is a vital part of the life of a child, as well as in the well-being of every community. The future of communities is in the hands of stable, responsible fathers that guide their children to lead responsible lives (Brewer). Without these responsible fathers, communities will fall into an unstable cycle. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, one in four children, enough children to fill New York City twice, live without any father figure in the home (“Father Absence Statistics”). Also, according to Pew Research Center, “Almost a quarter of U.S. children under the age of 18 live with one parent and no other adults (23%)…” (Kramer). Additionally, fatherless children are said to account for eighty percent of rapists motivated by anger and eighty-five percent of youths in prisons (“Research and Statistics— Rochester Area Fatherhood Network”). With no father figure in the home, children are forced into an evidently unstable adulthood. Many of these situations result in teen pregnancies and illegitimate fathers who rarely stay with their families, starting the cycle of irresponsible fathers once again. Data makes a clear point that a father is critical in the life of a child and the stability of a community.
According to my personal experiences as a son who saw the effects of an irresponsible father, fathers have a unique responsibility to love and protect their children, just as God the Father does, not only for the well-being of their children, but also for the stability of a community. Christian families should be powerful examples of responsible fathers in these communities. But according to Pew Research, a study showed that U.S. children from both Christian and religiously unaffiliated homes were equally likely to live with only one parent, showing that, statistically, Christians are no better than the unsaved at being responsible fathers (Kramer). The next generation of Christian fathers must be prepared to fill their indispensable God-given duty to be a responsible, dedicated, and Christ-seeking father. Responsible fathers are essential.
BibleGateway.com: A searchable online Bible in over 150 versions and 50 languages.,
https://www.biblegateway.com/. Accessed 16 November 2022.
Brewer, Jack. “Fatherlessness and Its Effects on American Society | America First, Always.”
America First Policy Institute, 15 February 2022,
-society. Accessed 8 November 2022.
Evans, Ashley. “60 Important Bible Verses About The Father (God The Father).” Bible Reasons,
18 September 2022, https://biblereasons.com/the-father/. Accessed 8 November 2022.
“Father Absence Statistics.” National Fatherhood Initiative,
https://www.fatherhood.org/father-absence-statistic. Accessed 8 November 2022.
Kramer, Stephanie. “U.S. has world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households.”
Pew Research Center, 12 December 2019,
n-in-other-countries-to-live-with-just-one-parent/. Accessed 8 November 2022.
Livingstone, Mike. “3 Reasons God Disciplines Us (Session 13 — 2 Samuel 24:10-25).” Explore
the Bible, 20 August 2018,
2-samuel-2410-25/. Accessed 8 November 2022.
“Research and Statistics — Rochester Area Fatherhood Network.” Rochester Area Fatherhood
Network, http://www.rochesterareafatherhoodnetwork.org/statistics. Accessed 8
Submitted by Hunter Weakley
Winner of 2022 BFLW Essay Contest