I think just about every parent has lost their child, even if just momentarily at some point. He may have been hiding under a clothes rack as you moved to another section of the store or she just happened to run off to play with kids in a different part of the park while you were talking to a buddy. One of the constants our kids have come to know about me is my whistle. It is loud and distinct, and it has saved us in many a situation. When the kids were ‘lost’ they essentially heard, “Here I am” through my whistle and all would be good with the world again.
A father’s “Here I am” is important and comforting for children of all ages, through every season of fathering. It may take the form of an up-hug for a young daughter or an arm around the shoulders of a teenage son. Later on, it may be a letter as the kids go off to college or a reassuring voice on the other end of the phone when the kids call. Being available, accessible and approachable is how a dad says, “Here I am” throughout the journey as a father.
Then I heard the Lord’s voice, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” I replied, “Here I am! Send me.” – Isaiah 6:8. Isaiah was tuned in to the Lord. He was available, accessible and approachable. This was not God’s call to Isaiah but Isaiah hearing God’s call. He was not called out by name but because he was listening, the call was personal. Likewise, all dads and moms need to listen to this call – “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” ‘Whom’ is you; ‘send’ is where He has you; ‘go’ is the journey as a father; and, ‘us’ is the triune nature of the Father that is emulated by prioritizing physical presence, engaging emotionally and leading spiritually by example. Your answer is, “Here I am! Send me.”
I failed as a dad and as a guide a couple of years ago on our father-son backpacking summer adventure. One young man tweaked his knee the first day of the trip so my son hiked he and his dad off the mountain while I took the rest of the group on up the trail. The plan was for my son to catch us later in the day. Never mind that the trek for the day was nine miles and I had added about seven plus miles to the journey for my son, all over mountainous terrain. When the main group made camp mid-afternoon, he had not caught up with us. I hiked back down the trail to a water crossing and whistled. My son heard the familiar sound at a critical juncture of the trail and made his way to me and we got to camp before dark. It was definitely a “Here I am” moment and all was good.
Prayer guide: Father, thank You for Your voice, the Word that is always available for those willing to listen. Too often I get caught up in the noise of the world and find myself blending in with the culture. Forgive me Lord. Grant me strength to navigate through the noise while I tune in to Your voice. Help me tune in to You more today than yesterday, more tomorrow than today – that I may always be available, accessible and approachable as the father You call me to be. Amen.
A faithful father is always available, accessible and approachable.