I read an article early this morning that got me thinking about something that I’ve kinda looked at off and on since finding out my wife and I were going to have a child. (this is the article: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/do-christian-parents-flirt-with-the-idol-of-safety — I found it very thought-provoking and would encourage anyone to take the time to read it and think on the topic)
Primarily, what I’m referring to is this: ever since starting to tell people that I was going to be (or, technically and essentially, already was) a father, I have at random gotten questions like “are you nervous?” “got the jitters yet?” and other such questions along those lines. I have usually responded to such questions with some form of a shrug or mumbled answer because I am well aware of how abrasive I can be when I answer questions with blunt honesty – especially when the answer has to do with my preference/opinion and/or my understanding of the Bible’s instruction about something (which is, of course, almost always the case)
Anyway, that to preface the fact that the article above caused me to look at my thoughts and emotions on being a dad and what I ‘want for my child’ in the light of what God desires and demands of me…
So here is one of the places my brain went, I have never really responded to the “are you nervous?” questions because they translate in my head as “are you worried/afraid?” (because I view ‘nervousness’ as just another expression of anxiety and/or fear) – and my gut response to that question is an emphatic “No, of course not, why would I be?” Here’s why: 1 John 4:18, Philippians 4:4-7, Matthew 6:25-34, and there are a plethora of other passages that have developed my conviction, but these are sufficient for sharing my thought.
(NOTE: I just did a ‘word search’ on blueletterbible.org for “love fear” and I found it very interesting the passages that were given to me)
I don’t wish to be offensive to those who have asked me questions like this, which is why I have found it so difficult to give the simple, 8-word response above, because I know I would have immediately followed it with something like “why would a Christian even ask me that?” Because, and this is what’s weird, the unbelievers I interact with have never asked anything of the kind (as far as I can recall – and it’s pretty easy to do so because I can remember all of the occasions on which and by whom I was asked these questions because they were so odd to me)… And the other thing I have found so bizarre, is that my wife never gets these types of questions, they have always been directed at me as the dad – as if fatherhood were scarier than motherhood (which puts a woman in an extremely close brush with death, at least in the process of giving birth).
But to continue, I have not once, to my honest self-examining recollection felt what might be categorized as even ‘concern’ in any of my thoughts about being a father before or since becoming one. And I primarily thank God for that because it is only by His gracious work in my heart in helping me to trust and love Him that such a thing is possible. But I also look at how He did that in the way He has helped me to view things. And I will list those things as such:
1) Ultimately, as with my wife, my daughter is not really mine to begin with; she is God’s first and foremost – I have merely been granted the privilege of caregiver to her. Matthew 6:25-34
2) My love for my child is not dependent on anything, and this is how that love can keep me from ever feeling any form of worry or fear about anything that would involve her. 1 John 4:18
3) God is ready to listen to me and help me with any concerns or needs that might develop over time, and thus I can trust Him for today, and have no need to think (except within reasonable bounds of good stewardship/servant-hood) about the future. Philippians 4:4-7
And I believe these to be appropriate and natural applications to life that any Christian could make with the broader parts of the concepts being taught in these portions of Scripture…
Obviously, if I were trying to teach these concepts to a group of people, I’d include a lot more Scripture and go off on several other very necessary ‘side-tracks’ – but at this point I am merely sharing my thoughts for those who might find them interesting and/or helpful… So if you’ve gotten to this point, thank you for reading, and I pray the LORD has blessed you in doing so)
Only by His grace – in Christ,
~ J D White
Originally written as a G+ post on 2/15/2016