He was choking up as he spoke a blessing over his daughter. They had just completed a week together enjoying a wilderness adventure that included day hikes, an overnight campout and a raft trip. Each evening they had a topic-specific discussion around the father-daughter relationship that resulted in more one-on-one dialogue than they had ever engaged in. Now, recognizing his ‘little girl’ as a young lady was overwhelming.
Boys and girls are empowered by a father’s blessing. It provides a solid marker for the father-child relationship as kids mature. Too often, the high school years put pressure on dads to back off as kids naturally want to spend more time their friends. Without intentionality on a dad’s part, a gap can open up in the foundational father-child relationship our Father exemplified with His Son. If dads do not stand in the gap, the culture will fill it with the antithesis of healthy relationship.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is My Son, Whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” – Matthew 3:16-17. The blessing of His Son was a marker for the journey Jesus was embarking upon, His ministry on this earth. His Dad continued to be engaged in their unique relationship as One. This was evidenced through Jesus' time in prayer, every miracle He conducted and through His prayer for the disciples (John 17). When the Father blessed Jesus a second time, documented in Matthew 17:5 at the transfiguration, the eternal dimension and the power of the relationship was on full display for those that witnessed it. Similarly, a father’s blessing over his child conveys an eternal perspective of his love and empowers the child in a relationship that will withstand the storms of life.
The daughter cried as her dad spoke through his tears. He presented her with a small gift as a token of their time together and his commitment to her. And they hugged. One of C.S. Lewis’s inspirations was George MacDonald. It was said of MacDonald, “An almost perfect relationship with his father was the earthly root of all his wisdom. From his own father, he said, he first learned that Fatherhood must be at the core of the universe. He was thus prepared in an unusual way to teach that religion in which the relations of the Father and Son is of all relations the most central.” Whether it is a dinner date, a weekend retreat, a week in the wilderness or a fun trip, it is a dad’s responsibility to be an "earthly root", to be intentional, to stand in the gap and provide markers for a growing relationship with his children as they mature.
Prayer guide: Lord, I thank You for Your example of relationship with Your Son. I confess that I have allowed the world to dictate my schedule through busy-ness and put off to tomorrow what needs to be done today. As You have shown me through the loss of a young friend and father, life does not always wait for what needs to be done now. Forgive me. Help me be more intentional in prioritizing the right stuff and committing time to my family, including blessing my kids at key junctures of life. Empower me to raise the bar for fathering individually and corporately in my church, to commit the time needed to encourage and equip a generation in the balance. Amen.
A faithful father is an "earthly root" grounding his kids in the Father’s blessing.