In today’s gender-fluid environment, you may wonder where I am going when I entitle a devotional “Your Last Day As A Man.”
Some transitions are major ones, and will require all the strength you can muster. Today I’m not going to write about a gender transition, but another transition of significantly greater impact. One that will require more strength than any of us can muster. Let me state at the outset that, although my illustration will focus on the masculine aspect, since it was born out of a communication with my son; the feminine application requires at least as much strength to do well; and that also is utterly beyond anyone’s individual grasp.
Last summer I sent one of my sons an email with the subject line “Your Last Day As A Man.” It grabbed his attention, obviously. Let me share it with you, because it is a good example of a situation where we need to apply today’s verse.
BE STRONG IN THE LORD AND IN THE STRENGTH OF HIS MIGHT
Here’s the email I sent my son ….
As I said, I recognize that becoming a mother will be just as drastic and demanding a change. The issue is not one of gender, but a new and demanding role.
Good morning, Son,
Welcome to your last day as a man.
Of course, I’m not saying that you’ll lose your manhood. But there are certain days in one’s life where the character, indeed the very intrinsic nature, of who we are changes drastically, dramatically and irrevocably.
You’ve always been male. Then you became a man. As a man, you became a husband.
But, as of tomorrow, you will forever be a FATHER.
The birth of your daughter will add to who you are. In ways you could never imagine and ways I could never begin to explain, your life is about to be transformed. Utterly and magnificently.
You may have thought before that you were capable of love.
Tomorrow its new depths will shock you.
Holding her for the first time will open those depths to you.
You may have been impressed previously by the weight of responsibility you bear.
Tomorrow you’ll grasp a level of responsibility for someone else in a way you’ve been incapable of doing before.
Your daughter will initially require everything from you just to stay alive.
Everything and anything she truly needs will come from you in one way or another.
Your job will be to walk her through the next two decades until she is the one who is capable of being the giver.
You may have struggled with demands of discipleship and transferring a living faith from your experience to the life of another.
Tomorrow you’ll hold someone for whom you will bear the initial (if not ultimate) responsibility of demonstrating the love of a father, and so teach her over time to desire the love of her Heavenly Father.
Of course, as all fathers who’ve gone before you and all who will follow, you will not fulfill your charge perfectly. Thankfully, we are not required to achieve perfection, only to demonstrate a determination to be the very best father that God enables us to be. Remember that you are called to press on, and to take hold of ALL that for which Christ Jesus has taken hold of you. As of tomorrow, being her father is part of that task. His strength will enable you to do it well.
Your skill and experience as a father will grow, to be sure; just as the demands of fatherhood will also grow.
May you always have the grace to turn to your Heavenly Father for the love, wisdom and courage you will need to represent Him well. May you be so completely filled by Him and His Holy Spirit that He overflows out of your every word and every action to your wife and child.
Take a deep breath, son; you’re about to become a Father.
PS – Try to get a good night’s sleep tonight, you’re going to need it.
Many of the life lessons I wanted to share today are contained in the email to my son. But there are a couple more points to be presented.
As impactful as the pivotal impact becoming a parent for the first time will have on your life, that particular task may not come to all of us. There is another radical life change that can, and should. It is the recognition that you have a Father in heaven who loves you deeply; more, in fact, that even your earthly parents ever could.
I encouraged my son to be a living expression of God’s love to his new daughter, knowing that sooner or later she would be able to recognize it; and in recognizing his love she would be drawn to respond to it. God’s love works the same way. It dawns on us that He loves us. Then, as our awareness grows, we come to see just how deep and committed HIs love for us is. His love is intended to draw us into a loving, life-changing relationship.
BE STRONG IN THE LORD AND IN THE STRENGTH OF HIS MIGHT
Choosing to enter that relationship changes your character. Indeed the very intrinsic nature of who you are changes drastically, dramatically and irrevocably. Entering that life requires the very strength of God; it does not lie within us. Jesus said that the drawing love of the Father was the seminal act of salvation. The relationship it calls us into requires that we BE STRONG IN THE LORD AND IN THE STRENGTH OF HIS MIGHT.
Growing in our calling, living out the life of Christ in ways that impact the world around us — this requires His strength even more.
Thankfully, whether you are about to become a father or are just realizing that you have one in heaven — His love and His strength are available for you.
My prayer for you today is that you will BE STRONG IN THE LORD AND IN THE STRENGTH OF HIS MIGHT. That you will come to see how much the Father loves you, how much He desires you to love Him.
Much like my son pouring out every aspect of his love on his daughter, knowing that his love is the best key to her heart; God is pouring out His love upon you today. He knows that, sooner or later, you will be able to recognize it. And in recognizing His love, you will be drawn to respond to Him.
He is calling you with the same words every child loves to hear ….. Come to Daddy.
As you do, your life is about to be transformed. Utterly and magnificently.
BE STRONG IN THE LORD AND IN THE STRENGTH OF HIS MIGHT … and come to Daddy.