There’s a lot I don’t know.
For example, I don’t know the square root of pi offhand. I don’t know French, or Dutch. I don’t know the balance between man’s free will and God’s election.
And I honestly don’t know that much about fatherhood. I don’t know how to raise a teen boy, or a middle school child, or even a three-year-old, because I’ve never done it. Even now, sometimes the day-to-day of trying to father a toddler and a baby is confusing, because they never stop growing and changing. Tomorrow, they’ll be an inch taller, with another word in their vocabularies, and another step toward independence.
And it’s intimidating to me. If I’m not mistaken, you may be aware of gaps in your abilities, faults in your knowledge, when it comes to raising these little men we call our sons.
There’s a verse in 2 Chronicles 20 that I love; verse 12 of that chapter reads, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” That verse has become the foundation of my approach to fatherhood.
In context, this part of Scripture is part of a prayer that Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, lifted up to God when he and his people were facing attack from three combined armies. They were greatly outnumbered and outgunned. Jehoshaphat’s response? He declared a fast in Judah and assembled the people to seek the Lord’s help.
Isn’t that what fatherhood is? Call me dramatic, but it seems to me that we face assault from every quarter- from unseen enemies not of flesh and blood. Our job is to protect and fight for our wives, our children- to maintain their physical safety, yes; but even more importantly, to ensure their spiritual safety. We are the front line.
When I consider the number of influences clamoring for my sons’ attention, the strength of societal and peer pressure, and my own inadequacies, like Jehoshaphat, I can become frightened. Frightened that my sons will grow up with a fundamentally flawed father who will let them down. Frightened that I may not prepare them for every eventuality, every temptation, every empty philosophy.
And that’s how the enemy, Satan, loves to operate: through fear. It paralyzes, it draws our attention away from God and His ability and onto us and our inability.
Here lies the the truth of the matter: We don’t know what to do. Our resources, wisdom, and abilities are greatly limited. But His are not. James 1:5 encourages us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, Who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
We do not know what to do, but God does. Every day of fatherhood brings a new challenge. What worked yesterday may be completely ineffective today. We can read every book on the subject, surround ourselves with wise council, and certainly these will aid us along the way. But in the end, it is the wisdom of God that enables us to raise sons who turn away from empty ideas and toward Him; it is the wisdom of God that gives us insight to treat them and our wives as we ought, not aggravating them, but extending love and grace. It is the wisdom of God that prepares us for every curve ball, every unexpected dilemma and crisis.
We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.