A Secure Fortress
-Not so many years ago, Donna and I were sitting in the office of a modular home dealer when we got a phone call from our oldest daughter Cally. She was calling to tell us she had just been in a wreck, after she assured us she was okay we headed to the scene and arrived to find her and her friend Sarah standing on the sidewalk talking to the elderly gentleman she had run into. She was 17 or so and still fairly new at the driving thing and while driving down busy 24th street west in Billings, she had gotten distracted by a radio station’s set up in the Mall parking lot and didn’t notice the car in front of her stopping until it was too late… wham! She rear-ended a car on in the minivan we had just given her to drive.
She was very shaken up, mostly from being slammed in the face by the air bag and worried about wrecking the van. Donna gave her a hug and made sure she was ok. I then talked to the man she had hit, made sure the insurance info had been exchanged, the cops had been called, the toxic airbag dust had been cleaned off her face, checked the damage to the vehicles and assured Cally in my best daddy has it handled voice that everything was going to be ok. All the things that needed to be done were done- or so I thought.
As we stood together on the sidewalk waiting for the police to arrive I saw that she was still visibly shaken so I grabbed her in a big bear hug and she just fell apart- sobbing and shaking as I held her until she got it all out. Then she was ok.
In the days to follow I found myself going back to that moment over and over, dwelling on that moment when Cally had melted in my arms; and it made me feel good. It was a special moment; why did it make me feel good? I mean, this was probably one of her worst days to this point, she felt awful and I certainly took no delight in her anguish. But it was special to me because I knew at that moment, that she trusted me. It was special to me because I was a refuge for her, a place where she felt safe, safe to fall apart, to be scared, to be weak and to let those things go.
I had arrived and taken care of business and that was important, but that was not enough. Because I had established a relationship of trust with her over years, she knew she had a safe place to turn−a refuge. And it told me that I had done my job as a father. That is why it was special to me. If you ask me, any man that does not want to be his child’s hero is no man at all. Being that hero means being there.
As the old proverb says:
“He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress and for his children it will be a refuge.” Proverbs 14:26
I believe every man has a God given desire to protect, defend and provide. He is naturally jealous for those he loves and given the opportunity, or the provocation, this instinct can be a passionate, all-consuming drive. It is knowing how to channel this drive, how to keep it going in a healthy direction that is hard because there are many other things wired into us that confuse our good intent. Some of these other things are good, some are bad. This desire to protect, defend and provide are a reflection of the Lord in us as men who are created in his image.
A famous old preacher named G. Campbell Morgan once wrote:
“Sometimes we say that God has taken our name “father” in order to teach us what he is. That is not a correct statement. God has lent us his name, Father, in order to teach us what we ought to be.”
It is by sticking close to the Lord, meditating on his word, that we keep that father drive in us headed in the right direction. It’s more like a hard drive in us, and like a computer’s hard drive it can get viruses and even be wiped out. That is why fathers sometimes hurt those they are supposed to protect, why they give up and leave, they have let the lies of the flesh dominate their thinking, the selfishness instead of the selflessness of the spirit.
The best way to operate correctly in the father mode of the Lord is to tap into the Spirit of the perfect Father, the Father who loves, protects and provides. The Father who lets us choose our way and teaches us the consequences of bad decisions, who teaches us that life is hard but that we will get through it, even enjoy it, if it is lived in him, with him, and for him.
Women have this desire to love protect and provide but it manifests itself in a very different way; a way that compliments the father’s way and brings balance to a child’s life. A woman’s protecting, nurturing and providing is best done under the umbrella of the husband, this is the submission and respect part in the scriptural roles of a functional family. Mother’s provide primarily from what the father has provided, they protect while being protected by the father, the strong fortress, and they love sacrificially while being loved sacrificially.
Dad’s, you have a solemn duty to guard the fortress you have been entrusted with, use the weapons of the Spirit to guard, and your hands to provide and bless those within your fortress- Never to hurt or do harm.
I guarantee you, your children will one day face monsters much bigger than fender benders in front of the mall−will they still come to you? If you are there with a loving and strong arms today−they will.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Eph 6:13
Adapted from the book: Hope For Families by Dan Swaningson
Happy Father’s Day!