As we approach Father’s Day we reflect on what it means to be a good father. In this video, Vice President for Institutional Communications at Reformed Theological Seminary, Phillip Holmes, talks about the lessons he learned about being a good father to his son from how God the Father treats him.
The entire video is above, and the complete transcript is below.
As someone who grew up in a single parent home, my father was present, but I did not grow up with him the household. So oftentimes as I’ve transitioned into this sweet period of having two little boys, a lot people often wonder how am I connecting being a father and really understanding the fatherhood of God.
This season has been really interesting in a lot of ways. I think more than anything it has made me love God more. The reason why I say that is because before I was a dad I had all these grand ambitions and all these pictures of all these awesome things I was gonna do with my kids. How much I was gonna be present and how I was gonna be the best dad in the world because I didn’t have a dad and I knew how much that significantly affected me.
And then I became a dad and I realized that talk is cheap.
I began to realize that it is a daily sacrifice to be a good dad, to give my son my attention, to give him my affection, to focus squarely in on him and say, “Son, I’m listening to you.” Even when he’s saying words that I can’t understand and even when he’s just talking to me and just wanting to do stuff that is absolutely, to me, meaningless. It is a struggle to stay focused in on him and not to want to just veg out on the couch after a long day at work, but to actually give him my time, my attention, and my affection that he so heavily craves.
As I was transitioning into this period, I began to stand in awe of our heavenly Father. Because I began to look at myself and then look at my son, and I see myself in my son and I recognize that the duty that I have as a father is extremely weighty. And when I look at how he’s disobedient, when I ask him to do one thing he wants to do another, how he’s stubborn, I begin to say, “Oh, that’s me! That’s me right there.” There’s oftentimes I find myself impatiently telling my son to be patient. Right?
I began to look at myself as a child of God and I say, “God, You are so amazing. You are so kind. You are so patient. You know, even when I’m saying stuff that doesn’t make any sense, You’re listening. Even when I am being disobedient, You’re patient. Even when I want to spend time talking about things that are minor in the grand scheme of things, You lend me Your ear and You say, ‘Son, I’m here and I’m listening and I want you to do those things.'” He doesn’t just make time for us, He has time in the palm of His hands and He says, “I’m yours. You have my ear.”
It inspires me. It convicts me. It leaves with so much gratitude to know that I have a heavenly Father that I can look to. I can be reminded when I am pridefully looking down at my son and saying, “You’re just a stupid, little kid.” I love my son. He gets more kisses, more hugs than – I want to say any kid in the world, but that’s probably not true. But I am so affectionate with him. But there are times I’m just like, “Ugh, you’re such a kid. You’re such a toddler.”
At the same time, I’m convicted when I think about my heavenly Father, because He never looks upon me and says, “Phillip, you’re just such a human. You’re such a finite being.” No, He says, “You’re my son. And I love you. And you’ve been adopted into My family and you have My ear. And you have My attention and I’m going to give it to you freely, not because of how good you are, but because of the righteousness of another.”
As I think about like fatherhood as mere mortal, as a mere man, and fatherhood as it relates to God, Him communicating that, “Hey, I’m Abba Father.”, I am left with gratitude. I am left with deep conviction. And I’m inspired to love my son in a, in the most humble way possible.