FATHERHOOD – WHAT’S THAT ALL ABOUT?
As Omeed Jouyande waved goodbye to his son, dropping him off at university, he was struck by the meaning of fatherhood in Christian life. As the world marks Universal Children’s Day, Iranian Christian and SAT-7 PARS staff member Omeed shares his insights in this special blog.
A few months before the birth of my first son, I asked a friend what it was like to become a father. “Your life is over!” he replied with characteristic humour. Yet the truth is that the arrival of a child marks both an end and a beginning. Being a parent involves putting down your old life and making a small, vulnerable person your very first priority. Barely a couple of months after that conversation, my son made his presence felt and became the centre of our universe.
Twenty years later, I find myself waving him off at his new university residence, in a strange town, in a different part of the country.
This new milestone feels significantly different from all the others we have passed. My mind flicks through scenes of my son as a baby, toddler, pre-teen, and young adult, with all the changes this journey has brought about. As parents, we too have changed in more ways than we anticipated, and many of those changes are a direct result of parenthood. Becoming a parent also gave me fresh insight into my own father and mother, and the challenges they faced, the sacrifices they made, as well as their mistakes…
And then your mind turns to your own mistakes.
Going to the Bible for encouragement, I see the mistake King David’s father, Jesse, made in underestimating his youngest son. I see that Jacob’s preferential treatment of Joseph contributed, perhaps in some measure, to the envy among the rest of his sons. However, one great encouragement I can draw as a Christian parent is that Jesse and Jacob’s mistakes never prevented God’s fulfilment of His plans in the lives of their sons – of David, or of Joseph.
We have a strong Redeemer who has His hand on the lives of our children. If they are in Christ, we have assurance that He will bring to completion the work He has begun in them. Unlike us, our Heavenly Father does not make mistakes. To demonstrate what He is like, Jesus tells the story of the Prodigal Son [Luke 15].
In this well-known parable, Jesus describes how our Heavenly Father is waiting for those who will return to Him, even with mixed motives, so that He can welcome them back as sons. This is the love and mercy of the Father towards those who are lost. He wants to bring us to a place where we love Him for Himself; after all, He is seeking a people who genuinely know and love Him as His children.
In experiencing parenthood, we are given a new insight into the love of our Heavenly Father. In my response, I can only return to the words of a favourite hymn:
“Amazing Love – how can it be, that thou my God should die for me!”