Heads-up dads – the time gets by quickly. One dad reflected that it seemed like yesterday they brought their daughter home from the hospital. He could hold her in one hand and marveled at how beautiful and fragile she was. He naively pledged to never let go of her. Of course, he had to let go when she took her first step and several years later when she yelled, “Let go Daddy!” as he ran beside her bicycle.
Then when she was a teenager, they went on a father-daughter adventure week in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. As they rappelled down a cliff face side by side, Dad realized there was no holding on to this young lady. He doubled-down on the prayer coverage as he taught her to drive and watched her grow more independent. Then, when she left for college, “letting go” took on a new meaning. A few short years later, armed with an education and dreams, it was time to move to a far-off city, a big city where she had few contacts. As much as he wanted to hold on to her, the option was not to be considered.
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, He gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and He sent them out to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. … I have given them Your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one. … Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. – Luke 9:1-2 & John 17:14-18. Just as the Father let go of His Son to become flesh and walk among us (Jn.1:14), Jesus let go of His disciples. First, they went village to village and reported back to Jesus. He coached them through successes as well as failure to heal a demon-possessed boy. They grew in relationship with Him and matured as disciples. Then as He prepared to send them into the world, He prayed the Father would protect them as He let go a final time. Similarly, letting go of a child is a journey throughout this life undergirded with prayer for the Father to protect them from the evil one. On the journey, the father-child relationship strengthens with trust and confidence, and dad’s example opens the door for the child’s personal relationship with the Heavenly Father. Per Jesus’ example, the charge is to let go but be available just as our Heavenly Father is available for us.
As the dad prepared to give his ‘little girl’ away in marriage, he was comforted by the relationship that had matured over the years and the experiences they had shared. She is a beautiful young lady ready to move into the next chapter of life with her husband. Dad and Mom had to let go. They will always be available but must stay out of the way as the new marriage matures. There is peace in knowing their daughter saw Jesus the Christ in the center of their marriage and His love reflected in their home. Now the baton is passed to the next generation.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for Your word and Your love. Thank You for the wife You blessed me with and the awesome opportunity to be a dad. I know the young man You brought into our daughter’s life is an answer to the prayer we have lifted up over the years. Be in the middle of their marriage as You have been in ours. Grant us the discipline to let go and let them grow in living their relationship with You in marriage. That is the dad you call me to be and that’s the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father learns to let go but remains available.