HOW JESUS’ WORDS CHALLENGE AND INSPIRE FATHERHOOD TODAY
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the Gardener…any branch in me that does not bear fruit, he prunes”
This is one for the season. I didn’t realize it until now but this particular text from John 15 packs a punch. While reflecting and meditating, I came to realize that there are plenty of chapters and verses that speak about Jesus’ relationship with God as his Father. All these verses are great, but Father’s day is unique and though it is no excuse for a celebration, it does emphasize something deeply rooted in the hearts of fathers all over the world. This thing is the greatest question plaguing children world over. Where are the fathers; who is he that I might connect with them? That’s right, relationship and connection is the missing factor among many youth today and they need answers.
I hear my friends’ hurt reverberate and echo in each word they speak and feel the pain buried in their hurts well up to the point that they literally feel like they are choking on their emotions. Seeing young women my age struggle to raise a child is no joke, especially when they knew that they got that child because of the love they felt their man have for them. It is no small matter when a child grows up never knowing his father. This actually is a a major issue. For where a boy would want to learn about life and how to win a woman’s heart and be the kind of man that she’ll need him to be, his father is not present to help.
As some of you reading this might know, I am a huge fan of comic books and I sometimes speak from my theological background as a graduate student on issues through them. I hope you realize by now that comics in some fantastic way, communicate something true about society. Take for instance, Peter Parker who is well known for being one of the world’s most loved and characters. Fans love the character not for any other reason than the sheer fact that they can relate to him. Think about it, in his earlier prints, it was revealed that a certain gentleman used to have his way with the young Peter and Peter could not share this information with his aunt for fear that the man might harm him; a bold move by Marvel and one of the reasons I love the company so much. At a time when many did not address these issues directly, they dared to do so through the pages of comic books.
Something else that I hope is not missed is Peter’s reaction to the loss of the only father figure he ever knew; he made an oath. He swore to embody that which had been passed on to him by his beloved Uncle Ben, that ‘with great power must also come great responsibility’. Peter changed entirely and sought to prevent the loss of innocent lives at the hands of crazed lunatics who sought to do harm to others. The point? A father figure is still a deeply influential figure to a child. And out of the loss of such a one, a fictional Peter Parker became a superhero!
Are we then to wear tights and fight crime? Are we to take on a new monicker to dazzle and impress the citizens of the world? The answer is a resounding, no. We are to call the fathers back. For those of you who have lost your father and someone else has taken over his stead, try your best to learn from him. Hard as it might be, they are there for a reason. There are lessons to be learnt that only they can give. We might not necessarily like them, but they deserve their honor. They are fathers.
As Jesus makes it clear, that his unique connection to the Father validated his authority and those who believe in him are connected to him. Although Jesus and the Father are not related in the same way we understand kinship, it is nonetheless beautiful and a mystery. As king, he makes those who trust in him, fellow sons and heirs of his and his Father’s kingdom. Most especially and most beautifully is the connection they have. Because of this connection, Jesus is able to say,
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other”
He has declared productivity to those who remain connected to him. For some of you seeking a productive connection. For truly this post is for the fathers/father-figures and their sons; do not let this moment pass and reconnect. You will make an impact on this world and the world itself cannot wait to see you bloom into who you are supposed to be.
For those of you who do not have a father, it is hard, I know but right now, God’s here and he loves you. If you give him this chance he will not, as I have experienced for myself, fail you. You are completely safe in his loving embrace. Yes, we do not know why we’ve had to endure, pain, hurt and suffering for so long because of this issue but take his word, he knows what you are going through. He understands pain. And isn’t that the point of having a parent? Do they not teach you from what they’ve actually experienced and endured in life?
This is his promise to those of you trusting in him right now, I will cause you to bear much fruit if you abide in me. That means, in the face of opposition; I trust, in the face of fear; I trust, in the face of doubt; I trust, when the chips are down; I trust. I do not believe in chances and that’s probably why I’m going as hard in this post as I am right now. There is hope for you. If you’ve read this post to this point, I believe that it’s for a reason.
For those of you seeking a hand and support in the form of prayer or encouragement, my contacts are as below. Feel free to introduce yourself and talk, I find it hard, especially for men to live without strength and that incredible re-assurance that they can still be the man they need to be in the face of all odds. Also, for the young women who desire to be more and need an exemplary example of manhood that they can look up to in a world that is robbing women of their worth and reducing their worth to mere eye-candy.
Catch me on;
The Lord is with you and the Father to the fatherless…