Father's Day

Tune in for this special Father's Day service with Gary Thomas!

Scripture References & Transcript

1 Kings 17:12

1 Kings 17:17

1 Kings 17:24

James 3:2

Romans 3:10

2 Timothy 4:5-6

When I was teaching a seminary class once, we were kind of laughing about the stereotypical differences between a Mother’s Day sermon and a Father’s Day sermon. Here’s what you usually hear in a Mother’s Day sermon. Moms, you’re wonderful. The world couldn’t move without you and there’s a special place in heaven just for moms. And all of that is true. I love that. I hope every one of our Mother’s Day services emphasizes that. But here’s what you often see in Father’s Day sermons. Guys, you’re the reason the world is in such a mess. There’s a special place in hell for wayward men. Here are the three things you need to do to step up men. Exhale, I’m not doing that to you today. All right? I’m here to lift you up to be your advocate because I’ve met so many of you and I know you’re doing a really good job.

You’re trying to be loving husbands and involve fathers and statistics. Bear that out. Nancy Percy wrote an interesting book called The Toxic War on Masculinity, not Toxic masculinity, the Toxic War on Masculinity. She found about a dozen studies that found evangelical Christian men who actually go to church now, evangelical men, well who say they’re evangelical men but don’t usually go to church actually score very well low, but evangelical men who actually go to church, which if you’re here is probably most of you actually score among the highest for loving husbands and involved fathers. Here’s what they found. Evangelical Christian men spend three and a half hours more per week than secular men with their children. They have a 35% lower divorce rate, and I love this, the lowest rate of domestic violence and abuse of any demographic in America. Good job guys. Way to go showing your kids what it means to be a loving father and a loving husband.

But here’s the challenge. You could have a pretty good husband and a pretty good father, but neurologists tell us that we have the way our brains operate. We have this negative bias where the good becomes a status quo so that you literally don’t even see it doesn’t get credit for the good he does. Negative bias means what your brain focuses on is where he disappoints you and where he lets you down. That’s what is most forefront in your mind. And it’s an issue that’s been going on for thousands of years ’cause it’s the way our brains operate. I wanna take you back to a tough time in Israel’s history. Thousands of years ago when the great prophet Elijah lived, there’s a terrible famine throughout all of Israel. Literally no food left in the land. And Elijah was going through a town named Zarephath. He sees a widow and he calls ’cause he’s really hungry.

Hey, can you give me a little bread? And the widow tells us how desperate her situation is. Here’s what she says. As surely as the Lord your God lives, I don’t have any bread, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I’m gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and son that we may eat it and die. I don’t know that a woman could be in a more desperate situation than that. She’s already alone. Her husband’s gone. So this is all on her. And now she knows with no more food in the land, she has one less meal, one meal left to make and then she will literally have to watch her son slowly die of starvation. It’s about as desperate as it gets. And in her desperation, prophet makes an amazing promise.

If you’ll go ahead and bake me a cake, he says, I promise you that jug of oil and the jar of flour never runs out and will never run dry until God sends rains back upon the earth. And perhaps the widow’s thinking, well what I have to lose, I’m gonna die anyway if I make a little smaller piece of bread for me and my son and have something left over for him. And if what he says proves true, we we might actually live. So she tries it out and it’s true every day she opens up the jar, she opens up the jug. There’s still oil, there’s still flour. And I’m sure for the first few days there might be that little bit of natural doubt. I thought the oil was out. Maybe it pulled up overnight. I thought the flower was gone. Maybe some had stuck to the sides or the lid. But after a few days, certainly after a couple weeks, she’s gotta know every day is a miracle. What this man said is true, God has provided for her through him miraculously. This is amazing. Every day she’s alive because of the word of Lord from his mouth.

A few months go by and something curious happens. She would be more surprised to open up the jug and a jar and find them empty than to find that there’s still something in there. Even though there’s no natural explanation for why there should be anything there. It’s just been true for so long. Her brain expects it. She would be more surprised if it was empty than if it’s full because it’s just the way it is. She doesn’t even see it as a miracle anymore. Then we’re told in verse 17, sometime later we don’t know how long, at least months, probably more likely years, her son becomes ill of something not related to hunger. And he dies and she goes to the prophet, the man of God and she’s angry. She says, what good does it do me if you spare my son from starvation only to have him die of another disease? Elijah takes the boy into the back, prays to God. God raises the boy from the dead, presents the boy to his mother and she says in verse 24, now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.

How long do you think it took her to realize she had just insulted this man of God? How long do you think it took her to realize how she had undercut how he had miraculously provided for her before? Now she knows he’s a man of God. Now she knows that what he speaks is the truth. What has she been eating every day as everybody around them is starving and she has supernatural provision? ’cause he told her it would be so and now she believes that He speaks the truth. It’s what happens. God blesses us with someone. It becomes a status quo and we don’t even see it. Then a crisis erupts. And that’s what we see and that’s what we focus on. And that’s the challenge that every woman married to a pretty good guy faces. And the challenge that everybody is raised by a pretty good dad faces they’re, they’re pretty good, but you wonder why they’re not perfect. I’ll tell you why they’re not perfect. The only man who was perfect never got married and never had kids, you don’t have any chance.

But I bet your pretty good husband and your pretty good father is better than a biblical husband and a biblical father. What? What do you mean by that? It’s a fascinating passage in Hebrews 11 where it lists the heroes of the faith, the New Testament exalts, these heroes, these legends that God used in such a miraculous way. And you read scripture say, oh yeah, God used them so powerfully, but let’s look at what their family members might say. The first one mentioned is Noah, certainly a hero built the arc, kept the human race going and all of that. After the flood, his sons found him naked and passed out drunk and had to cover him up. Now that’s every child’s worst nightmare. I can’t unsee it. My eyes, my eyes. How much of a hero did Noah seem to his son then Abraham? Yeah,

Father of Israel. Huge

Hero, but

Interview his wife Sarah.

Do you? On two occasions,

He literally tried to

Give me away to two


Men. ’cause he thought I’m so beautiful, they would kill him to get at me and he would


Give me away

To two

Other men than defend me. And then his son, Ishmael Hero.


He left me and my mother. He pushed


Out and he abandoned us to

Die. We would’ve perished if

God hadn’t supernaturally

Provided for us.

Got Moses.


Figure in the Old Testament, whole 10 commandments setting Egypt, Israel, free from Egypt and all of that. There’s this really kind of bizarre episode in Exodus chapter four. We don’t have time to get into particulars, but God came to kill Moses ’cause he hadn’t been faithful with his son.

His wife gets so frustrated, she takes

Care of it. And then she screams out at Moses,

You are a

Bridegroom of blood. To me, it doesn’t sound like a wife that sees her husband as a hero. And you got David. You know where I’m gonna go with David? Yeah. He’s called a man after God’s own heart commits adultery and then murder

To cover it up. You tell his kids

He’s a hero. You imagine what his

Kids could say to David, dad, you had

Seven wives and over a dozen compromises, that’s not enough for you.


You cheat on mom because of that. And David was a king. So when he cheated

Or he did this,

He so messes up the line of succession makes life


Difficult for them.


That sound like a hero

To David’s wives

And sons? Isn’t it kind of shocking that the heroes, the legends there, there’re more. We’d have time to go into ’em.


All of them gave their wives reason to divorce them and their children reason to despise them. And yet scripture honors them. Now, please wives, don’t get me wrong, I wanna make it very


I am not telling you to ignore adultery, addiction, lying. Please don’t ignore abuse. This is a church that wants to support healthy families. I know there are some situations where women need to be spared from their husbands. That’s not my point. What my point is, is that even the legends of scripture tell


When you have a man in your house


Your husband or as your father, every man comes with

Sin. James three, two, we all stumble in many ways. Romans three 10, there is no one righteous, not even one. Can you still appreciate and love and honor a man who stumbles in many ways? Or does he have to be perfect? When the Bible says honor your mother and father, it lists the ways that a father can mess up. And there’s still that command. You are still called to honor him. Now it is healthy to work through your disappointments with your dads. That’s part of just natural human development. You need to go through that. You need to do forgiveness, you need to be honest. Your wounds and your hurts. I I get that. But on this Father’s day where you also at least evaluate your expectations, was I expecting more of my dad than a human is capable of giving? When I look at what scripture says a man is and what he struggles with, I, I share all this because if you’re still hung up on that, the rest of the sermon will just mean nothing to you.

Because I wanna talk about how we honor and love these imperfect fathers and husbands. And if you’re still caught up on I shouldn’t and I don’t have to, you’ll miss out on it. Just want you to consider that as we go forward. So how do you love a husband, a father who stumbles in many ways, Jay and Laura Lune wrote a book called He Said, she said, A result of interviewing a thousand couples. Now, I’m only gonna talk about the men’s answers ’cause it’s Father’s Day, but I was actually surprised at first by the top response for men what they said they wanted most from their wives and their children. Here’s what 97% of them listed as their top desire that their wives and children wouldn’t complain. That surprised me at first. But then I thought about it and here’s why. I think complaining. So undercuts the soul of a man and a husband and a father.

Let’s say he’s trying really hard and when a kid or a wife complains that tells him not good enough, not trying enough. Can’t you do more? Our house isn’t big enough. You don’t spend enough time with me. I don’t have enough resources. I don’t get enough attention. And maybe he’s trying really hard and he’s being told, but it’s still not good enough. Can we at least admit how difficult the task is? How many hats a man has to wear? I’ve been reading a book by Dr. Robert Waldinger. He’s head of the Harvard Study of adult development leading psychologists obviously Ivy League and all of that. And he gave some great advice. Here’s what teenagers need from their dads dad. You wanna know, here’s what a top psychologist says, teens need from their dads hold. But don’t baby admire, but don’t embarrass guide, but don’t control release, but don’t abandon brilliant advice and virtually impossible to do.

Seriously us guys, if we don’t have PhDs, it’s like, how do we know when we’re holding but not bathing? How do we know when we admire but don’t embarrass? It’s impossible for us not to embarrass our teens. I mean, this is great in academia. It feels impossible in life. I laughed at the title of this book, I’ve never read this book, but it’s a leading parent book written by Anthony Wolf. And the title is This Get Outta My Life. But first, could you drive me and Cheryl to the mall? <laugh> Don’t lie to dads say, yeah, I feel like I’ve been there every summer, which we have now. I keep this down coat in my office because my office gets really cold when they turn the air conditioning on. I am frozen out. So I just keep this coat in my office and I wear it during the summer.

Now, I’ve never complained to facilities because when I talk to somebody in Houston whose business is doing air conditioning for churches, he explained to me, Gary, it is an impossible task. The problem with churches is you’ve got big rooms right next to small rooms and they’re spread out and you’ve got this hallway. And from this end to that end, he goes, we can try. But it is almost impossible to get one room right and the next room isn’t having a problem. And so I can just recognize it’s a really hard thing to do. If the best engineers in the world feel like it’s an insolvable maze, it’s not a big deal for me to put on a coat and just say they’re doing their best. It’s not perfect for me. But I appreciate the enormity of the task. All I’m asking is wives and kids.

Can you do that for your dads? Can you do that for their husbands? They’re not hitting home runs every day. But can you at least recognize if they’re at least occasionally getting a single? The second most common desire that men expressed is to be appreciated. They just want people to know that they’re trying and what they’re doing. In one of my favorite episodes of the office, TV’s most adorable couple, Jim and Pam are getting married and Jim decides to buy a house for Pam, but he buys his parents’ house and it’s an old house and a small house. It doesn’t look like any house around here. You have to drive about five miles down university and get into the side roads to find some houses that look like the house that Jim bought. Pam, low ceilings. There’s this picture of a clown, this God, he pictured that he can’t get off the wall.

And then he shows her, her parents, the master bedroom where his parents have slept for 30 years. And Pam’s first thought is, do we have to sleep in that room? He goes, no, there’s another one. And you could tell how vulnerable Jim feels. He bought this house and it’s smaller than he wishes. I mean, he’s a paper salesman. It’s not new. It doesn’t have a lot of things. What? What’s Pam gonna say? And Pam tears up. She says, you bought me a house. He goes, what? And she runs to him and puts her arm around him and kisses him. I can’t believe you bought me a house. Now let there be any doubt young men don’t do that. Don’t ever buy your wife a house that she hasn’t seen, right? Unless you’re dropping about 5 million, you’re gonna be in trouble, okay? Especially if it’s that small.

Pam isn’t real, right? Adorable but not real. She’s a character <laugh>. But here’s what I think the writers were trying to do. Here’s a guy who loves, loves her and he’s taken a swing and he just wants her to recognize, I wish I could have done more, but can you recognize I took a swing and Pam does and it warms your heart. I remember when my kids did that for me. My oldest daughter, Allison, could be quite appreciative when she was growing up. I remember one time because I wanted him to be able to stay in Bellingham and I often traveled outta Seattle to get a flight. I routinely would leave Bellingham at three 30 in the morning, get in the car and drive south. And one morning I was just tired of having to drive so far and get up so early. And my daughter the night before had gotten into my car and she taped a bag of peppermint lifesavers, the kind that are individually wrapped on my steering wheel.

She was, dad, I know you’re working so hard. We appreciate it. I hope this sweetens the trip, man. It did. That’s all I needed that she recognizes I’m leaving. I’m getting up early. I flew down the freeway just thinking about how blessed I was. And she was much younger. There was another episode where, um, there’s a job I hated when I was a young dad. A lot of you know my wife Lisa, she’s very holistic and naturopathic and everything. And she was determined that we would not use disposable diapers with all those chemicals on her baby’s precious bottoms. I tried to explain to Lisa what came out of those precious bottoms. I was thinking a few chemicals might counteract some of that. She wasn’t having it. So we used cloth diapers like the last people in the 20th century that used cloth diapers. And it’s as disgusting as you could imagine.

You rinse ’em off in the toilet. And then we had this big bucket, I say bucket, but it was more of a con container that went up to my hip and you fill it with soapy water and then you put the diapers in there and it weighed about 70 pounds when it was filled with water and diapers. And so I was the only one that could empty it into the utility sink. I had a trip where I had to leave the next day and Lisa reminded me, Hey, don’t forget to do the diaper bucket. We’ll run outta diapers. I said, okay. I go down and I’m sorry, I just hated the smell. It was so gross. And I’m starting to lift up the bucket and my little alley comes up and she’s grabbing on my pants legs. Pop, pop, pop. Well honey, be careful. I don’t wanna spill on you. Papa pop pop. Okay? I put the bucket down and she pulls behind her back two pictures. I made two pictures for you. This picture says, I love you and I’m so glad you’re my dad. And this picture says, I hope you come home really soon.

And I just about cried. And I gotta tell you, I would empty a hundred of those disgusting diaper buckets to have a moment like that. I just wanna say to the wives and kids with us guys, a little appreciation can go a long way with us just a little bit. And I kind of put this on the moms. I don’t, I don’t mean to give you a heavy thing here on Father’s Day, but the reality is, if your kids have a pretty good dad, it’s on you to let your kids know that they don’t know. Young kids think this is what dads are. Every dad takes their kids family to church. Every dad is true to his wife. Every dad provides and is engaged and does good things with his kids. They think every dad is like that. We know every dad doesn’t. Do your kids know that today?

Be a good day to tell your kids just how much they need to appreciate. They’re pretty good dad. The third most common desire men want to hear, I value you. Not just what you give me is dads. We can feel like it’s a utilitarian role. Like your kids dad, just just be a taxi driver. Take me where I want to go. Don’t ask me any questions. Oh yeah. And gimme 40 bucks as you let me out. Or moms, I need somebody to raise the kids. I need somebody to reach the high things. I need somebody to open the jar. All of those things. And we start to think, but am I just what I do for you? Do you value me? In the 11th century of Germany, there were two dynasties that were battling for the throne in Germany. One was the wealths. Their headquarters were the weinsberg castle renowned for its wealth and its treasure. The other dynasty was led by King Conrad and he led the Hoen Statin. Now, now they didn’t have the treasures and the wealth

That the

Wels did at the Winesburg castle, but they had the men and they had the army and they were literally surrounding the Winesburg castle. The men in Winesburg knew it was over. They didn’t have a chance of defeating their forces. You don’t kill an army with gold. And so Conrad made an offer. If the men of Weinsberg would

Give up their lives

And the women would give up

The treasure of the castle,

They would let the women and children live. It’s kind of a fierce charge. But

That was

Warfare in the 11th century. Men, if you’ll allow

Us to kill you, we’ll let your

Wives and children live.


Did what good men did.

They said, okay,

But the wives sent out one request to Conrad, you know, there’s a lot of

Treasure here. Will you let us at least leave with whatever

Treasure we can put on our back? Conrad knowing how much was there, said Absolutely


Siege can be over. Nobody will lose their

Life in battle. I’ll agree to that.

And so the

Castle doors

Were opened and some of Conrad’s soldiers laugh. Some teared up

’cause every

Wife of Weinsberg

Carried her

Husband on her back. Conrad knew he had been tricked, but he said a good king keeps

His word.

And he let the men who had wives


Women and kids. That’s that’s

What every

Husband is asking. If


Came down to where I can’t give you anything and nothing I provide for you remains, do I matter more to you than that? And I just a way

For you

To get what you want and to have the life you want. Or

Do you

Value me? Does your husband know today?

If you

Had that situation, you would leave every thing behind and take him on your back. I wanna end by giving a word to the men here. I know you’re doing a good job. And I know it’s really

Hard. There’s this verse

I got from Paul. I don’t know why it wasn’t the forefront of my mind earlier, but the last

Five years, it’s really

Sustained me, encouraged me and inspired me. It’s two Timothy four, five, and six where


Says, endure

Hardship, discharge all the duties

Of your ministry. I like Paul


Talking. So honestly to me, Gary, life can be hard.

But discharge all

The duties of your ministry. Endure it. Don’t stop being a husband. Don’t stop being a father just because it’s hard. You endure the hardship and you keep loving on your wives.

You keep

Sacrificing and be involved with

Your, your kids.

And I know it’s not easy because you’re not just

A dad. If you could just

Focus on being a dad, you might feel like you

Could do better as a

Dad. But you’re not just a dad. You’re

Also a husband. And your wives have a lot of expectations

On you. You

Also have a hobby that you used to do. You probably

Have a job with a lot of demands placed on your shoulders.

If you have a house, you have a house and

A yard that needs to be maintained and kept up.

How? Just yesterday I was eager to get here early ’cause I had to tweak

The sermon and I’m preaching next week. And so I wanted to prepare for

That ’cause I got a busy

Week coming up and the handle broke and the master bathroom shower,

I was

Frustrated ’cause it’s only been a year it shouldn’t be breaking now. And I’m an idiot when it comes to handyman staff. It takes me like three times the amount of time it would take any normal guy to

Do it.

But man, you live with that, right? You’ve got something, you’ve got plans and then something happens and you are the one who has

To do it. It just

Overwhelms you. And then for a lot

Of us, at least a large part

Of the family’s income, for some of you,


Of the family’s income is on your shoulders.

But these people

Don’t want you just to


And they want you to be emotionally involved and connected.

I get why.

But I remember men, I remember when I had kids at home,

The daily guilt. I felt if I was

On the road earning money, I’m thinking I should be home. I’m missing a Saturday

With the kids. I I, I should be there at their practices. I should be

There to have fun. But then I’m with my kids and having fun. I’m thinking, man, they’re gonna need

To go to college. Uh, adolescents,

They need shoes. How many shoes do adolescents need? It’s a never ending

Purchase of shoes. I I, I should be

At work earning money. And I never resolved it. Now my son gave me a great gift when he was in high school. I remember apologizing, bud, I gotta go away again this weekend. And I remember Graham telling me, dad, it’s fine. Look, you and I have

A better

Relationship than I have with that any of my friends have with their

Dads. And he goes,

And I know you’re not going away just


Golf or hunt. I know you’re going away

To provide

For us. I’m not saying it’s wrong for a husband to go away for a weekend to golf or to hunt, especially when you don’t travel. There’s


Times for that. But Graham Elise was recognized. I mean he, he’s like born with a good business mind. He just

Got it.

And one time I loved it

Actually. ’cause he

Was at a Christian camp in the summer and one of the leaders found out who his

Dad was. And he

Started pressing Graham. Graham, we’ve been trying to have your dad come out and talk now. We can’t really pay him. We can just cover expenses. But now you know what we’re all about. Can you tell him he needs to come? And Graham said, no, I won’t tell him to do that. In fact, I’ll tell him not to come. He goes, why? What did we do wrong? He goes, nothing. I love what you’re doing, but if you don’t pay him, then he has to travel the next two weekends to pay for what we need. And I would rather he spend a weekend with me than with you if you’re not gonna pay him. And I loved it how he just, he just got it as a son. And it really helped me deal with that guilt. And I thought of this when I came across the account of Mike Jutt who had just the heart that I have.

He said this from the day we first saw two lines on a pregnancy test back in 2000. Ann and I have known what kind of parents we wanna be. We wanted to be, we didn’t want to be good parents. We wanted to be great. And isn’t that what we wanna be Men? We don’t wanna just barely get by. Our goal, our desire, our passion is to be great dads. And that’s why when we hear complaining, we feel so awful. Because if you really want to be good at something, it hurts even more if you’re failing, if you don’t care, big deal if you fail. But when it really matters, it’s particularly painful if we feel like we’re failing. The Jets had two natural children and four adopted children from China. They got him at different times. And when they finally got the, the fourth adopted kids, so now they had six.

Mike was worried there wouldn’t be enough of him to go around. He said to Anne, can we do this without compromising our ability to be the kind of parents we wanna be to all of our kids? We don’t wanna be great parents to two or three or four. How can we be great parents to six? Well, he’s an engineer. So we put in the systems. Friday night is jut night. They all go out for dinner and they come back home for milkshakes dancing and family prayer. Saturday night is a date night for Mike and Anne to reconnect and to keep their marriage going. Sunday mornings they go to church. Sunday evenings they have pizza and then they have a movie on a red blanket in the family room. And for a couple years it was okay. They felt like they could keep it together. But as the kids got older, every parent here with kids that are getting older know exactly what happens.

You have the select soccer practices, you have the other social engagements. And he looks at his life and suddenly he says, family dinners are really an exchange of Chick-fil-A nuggets as they go through the drive through weekends are a game of divide and conquer. You get these two kids here, I’ll pick up these kids here. You make sure they get there making things worse. The basement was under construction ’cause they were building bedrooms for all of these kids. So they had workers that were trudging dirt into the house. It was noisy, it was loud, it was messy. And the budget had been blown months before. Looked like it could bankrupt them. Mike had to admit every


We’d so brilliantly conceived and painstakingly maintained, began to break down.


Parenting was

Off the table

And good seemed to be at

Risk. Have you ever felt like that?

Dad’s, you wanna be great And then you have to

Let go of,

Great. Now you say, can I even

Be good

And you’re not sure? And then it

All collapsed

One Sunday morning in May

Eight people

Trying to take showers

Before church. The hot

Water tank couldn’t handle it. So the last

Three kids are

Screaming ’cause they’re taking cold


Then Mike is trying to get the family out the door. And their youngest son, Sam, is taking his time. He goes, come on Sam, we gotta go And says, I can’t get my shoes on. He goes, oh, come on. So he gets down and he realized the reason Sam couldn’t get his shoes on is they wouldn’t

Fit. His feet

Had grown overnight.

It’s too late

To buy a new pair of shoes.


He just gave them a pair of his sister’s pink rocks and got ’em into the car.

He tried to squeeze eight people

Into an aging minivan. Wasn’t sure

He could get the door closed.

One daughter was crying ’cause she couldn’t fit her cello in the back ’cause

They had soccer

Chairs and soccer equipment. Another daughter was crying ’cause she pinched her hand, uh, trying to get into the back seat.

Two of the kids were

Supposed to take their medicine. They forgot their water. They found a bottle of water from a soccer game two days


Not very hygienic, but look, you need the mess medicine. Just go ahead and take it. It’s one of those mornings where everything is going wrong. They’re throwing these barely

Thawed, blueberry

Egg goes in the back seat, pretend they’re warm. And then as they pulled out on their way to


The oldest son said, oh, dad, I forgot I need to bring snacks for the soccer game.

You turn into Kroger where he gets a

16 pack of

Doritos, a case of Gatorade

Lemon line. And he’s thinking, is it even

Worth it to go to church?

The answer is yes. 15 minutes of church

Is still better

Than no minutes of church.


It’s one of those natural mornings where he is wonder, I I’ve

Tried so hard. He said, I was stressed

And tired and mad,

The picture

Of the kind of dad I never wanted to be. And then it happened.


Heard Sam scratchy voice from the seat behind me. Dad, I need

To tell you something. Here’s a

Picture of Sam, his youngest boy who said


Mike said, okay, here it comes. Now is when he reveals


Disappointed he is in me as

His father.

Now is when he begins to

Articulate all of the ways that I have failed to live

Up to the standards of

What a father should be.

His emotional scars from not co-sleeping,


Stunted intellectual

Development because I

Let him play too many video games.

He’s doomed athletic career because his

Shoes did not fit

Properly. It was all about

To come out and I

Deserved it.

At that moment, the frustration fell away and was replaced

By a wave of

Disappointment. Not in the kids, not in the situation, but in


This is not what I meant to

Be. So he still his

Reserve? And he said, yes. Sam, what do you wanna tell me? Sam said, when me and Ellie was in China, I was wanting a dad.

Like you,

Mike said, I must have misunderstood what he was saying. Perhaps he meant when I was in China, I wanted a real


Not one like you,

Or you were such a bad father that I wish you lived

In China. Or even when I was in China with no dad.

It was still

Better than the miserable job


Doing. And, and so I I asked him again, what did you say? Sam? Sam said it again. When I was in China, I was wanting a dad

Like you.

And then I turned around to look my boy in the eyes and I started crying like an idiot.

I cried because I still

Wasn’t sure the sliding door was

Really closed all the way. I cried because I was

So stinking exhausted

By soccer

And by mud tracking construction workers in my house. I

Cried because I was

Dying for a


With Anne. But mostly I cried because my systems, my planning, my whole

Hope for

Pulling this thing off well

Had completely failed.

And somehow this

Beautiful scratchy voice boy who was

Wearing his sister’s pink rocks, wanted a dad


Messed up me. Suddenly I saw

The whole

Ridiculous mess for the


Dream come true that

It really is.

And then I cried some more, remembering that I almost said no to bringing them home

Because I was afraid of a day just like

This one man. It’s not easy being a dad, not even a little bit,

But every

Kid needs a

Dad. Every

Kid needs

A grandfather. And if God has chosen you to be that coach, that dad, that grandfather, that big brother, endure the hardship, discharge all the duties of the ministry. And you may not hear words of appreciation, but maybe some days in their hearts, those kids will be saying, I was wishing for a dad like you and you. You, let’s pray. Father, I thank you for the men who are stepping up in this church, continuing to pursue their wives, continuing to be in their kids’ lives, even as their kids try to push them away. Father, give them hearts of lions, tenderness and courage, compassion and wisdom. And Lord, I pray on this Father’s day that you might open up their wives minds and hearts and their kids see that they’re not perfect, but maybe they’re pretty good and they can still be thankful for that. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Amen.