by Neal Windham, Spiritual Formation Pastor
Note: In keeping with the father-to-son flow of the Book of Proverbs, the devotions this week come from Musings of a Prodigal Father, which I wrote for my son Luke upon graduation from high school in the late 90s.
“He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.” – Proverbs 14:26
I think you know how much family matters to me, Luke. But I want you to know that I have a keen sense for how deeply it matters to you as well. I see in you the makings of a family man of the highest order, intensely devoted to your sister, kind to your parents, cooperative, and moved by the things which move us. You continue to enjoy doing things with us, love to be home, and share in the ongoing conversation that is home. I just want you to know how pleased I am with all of this, how hopeful I am that yours will be a truly loving and devoted family.
Never place work in front of family; never allow success to ruin relationships at home; don’t lose sight of the big thing by getting bogged down in all the little details. Don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it, including my own. Never pit your spouse against the children. Always demonstrate your love for her in front of them. It is no shame to show this primary affection. Don’t overlook the big problems, and don’t hold back in addressing them. Too much has been left undone and unspoken for too long in too many marriages. Don’t neglect your wife, children, sister, or parents. You are part of an ongoing web of life whose demands and responsibilities for love and community cannot be relinquished and will only grow as you get older and begin to raise a family of your own.
And remember, you will always have a home with us; you will always be a part of this family. We are as deeply committed to you now as we ever have been – and then some. Don’t ever be afraid to ask us for anything, to call on us in any situation. So please, continue to involve us in your good life.
Lord, we sometimes call you Abba (meaning, Papa) just to be reminded how blessed we are. You are such a Great Father! Help us then to build our homes and marriages in the caring ways you have demonstrated among us, with obvious love and selfless devotion. It’s hard. Sometimes, we fall ever-so-badly, but, at the same time, we’ve come to realize just what a Durable Father you are, so rest assured we’ll keep making our way home to you as we seek to become solid moms and dads, kids, and siblings. In Jesus’ name. Amen.