Something Dad Taught Me

I recently spent some time counselling a father in our church whose child has some doubts and fears. He’s a great dad and wanted to know how to help his child through doubt.

How can you trust God when you don’t understand why things are happening the way they are?

That’s the question he was asking. That’s a tough question for anyone to answer. How can you learn to trust God even when it seems as if you’ll never know why he’s allowing something painful to happen to you? For me, I thought back to my own dad. Over the last 29 years my dad has always been committed to what was best for me. He’s sacrificed numerous times for my good. As a young child he constantly went out of the way to communicate his love. A few examples:

  • When leaving home dad always stopped at the door, knelt down and said, “There’s always time for hugs and kisses.” Even when he was in a hurry.
  • Dad often returned home with candy in his shirt pocket. He’d walk in the front door, catch my eyes, then tap on that pocket as if to say, “Though I was gone, I was thinking about you, and I brought you something back.”
  • As and older child and teenager dad made sure he was at every sports game I played. He ruthlessly rearranged his schedule to be present in my life.

Those are just a few examples but you get the picture. Dad worked so hard at demonstrating his love for me that even when times came where he couldn’t give me all the answers, or explain why he was or wasn’t doing something I could trust his intentions for me. He had years of loving trust built into the relationship.

There are two applications here:

  1. Parents, you are either building or destroying your child’s ability to trust you. Consistently speaking and demonstrating love and trustworthiness to your children will give them a foundation of trust in you. When the time comes and you can’t explain all your reasons to your child they’ll be able to simply take what you can explain to them and trust. You’ll be able to draw on the years of love and trust you’ve built into the relationship.
  2. Parents, you are teaching your children what God is like. If they don’t have love and trust modeled to them by their earthly parents, they won’t trust God’s love for them when he allows difficult circumstances in their lives. If, however, you’ve worked to model faithfulness– and you may just be beginning today– you can’t use it to disciple your children. When your child asks, “Why is God allowing this in my life”, you can say, “Honey, I’m not sure but you can trust him. Just like mommy or daddy have always loved you, even when you couldn’t understand it, God loves you as well. We know that because God gave us his own Son to bring us back to him. If he would do that for us, then we can trust that he loves us even when he doesn’t explain himself to us.”

Does that answer all the questions and doubts? No. This side of eternity I’m not sure anything ever will. But, it gives us hope and allows us to move forward in trust. That’s something dad taught me.

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