It seems so long ago that I heard dads talk of the peace at home when the family calendar was clear, thanks to the impact of the Covid lockdown. Families found they were able to enjoy the evening meal together every night. Some dads embraced the joy of making breakfast for the kids and sitting down with them before school. The flexibility of working at home provided many dads more opportunity to engage with their kids.
The popular thought was that there was a silver lining in the lockdown, that it had provided families a chance to reset priorities. All the various activities, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for the kids, were not all they were cracked up to be. There was value gained from the family time that resulted from the forced slow down. What happened?
So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” – 1Kings 19:8-9. Elijah had just proven to King Ahab and all of Israel that his God was the one true God. God had rebuked the false god, Baal as He consumed the offering Elijah had prepared. Then, Elijah was empowered to put the 400 prophets of Baal to death by the sword. God blessed Elijah beyond measure and glorified Himself through him. Then a wind called Jezebel blew through. Elijah took his eyes off God and he ran for his life. He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. – Ecclesiastes 11:4. Solomon’s words could have benefitted Elijah. He is not saying to ignore the wind and disregard the clouds totally. He is saying to not get caught up in them, as Elijah did. Today, the wind of post-lockdown busy-ness is picking up. The work load is increasing and extensive travel schedules are resuming. Then, regard for the clouds can take a man’s focus to storms on the horizon. Anxiety, sometimes disguised as prudence, leads to doubling down in the wind of busy-ness in order to navigate through the storm ahead. But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. – Luke 5:16. In intimate relationship with His Father, Jesus turned to Him for wisdom to rebuke the winds and the clouds of this world, and press on with the journey before Him. The charge for dads today is to slow down, slip away to the wilderness or another place of seclusion, listen and pray.
For one dad, it was a four-day spiritual retreat called, “Walk to Emmaus” that slowed him down enough to take inventory of the many blessings God had bestowed on him. He had taken so much for granted as he focused on the wind and clouds. Similar to Elijah walking out of the cave, walking out of that retreat, all distractions were put in perspective and his eyes focused on Jesus the Christ.
Prayer guide: Thank You Lord for Your word and for turning my heart to You. I confess that I have been caught up in the winds and the clouds of this world, the priorities of work, status and income. Forgive me. By Your grace, I slowed down and embraced the blessings in my life, primarily the blessings of marriage and family. Grant me wisdom and discernment to slip away and pray to You. Equip me to push back against busyness and keep my eyes focused on You, that I may glorify You in the marriage and family You have blessed me with. That is the dad You call me to be and that is the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father slows down, prays and keeps eyes focused on Jesus the Christ.