Fatherhood hurls men into the unknown and the unexpected. We ask ourselves the pivotal question, Do I have what it takes?

Inadequacy churns in our souls as we contemplate the enormous task before us:

How do I juggle the needs of my children and the demands of my career? How can I meet the expectations of being a dad when I don't know what those expectations are? How do I provide for the financial needs of a growing family? How do I start over when I have failed my children already? How do I speak words of love and encouragement to my children that I never heard?

As a father of seven children, ages five to 22, I can relate to every father who wants to give his best to his family. My wife, Lisa, and I had four children in a little over four years, and during the next 10 years God blessed us with three more. We have walked through many experiences with our kids – teething, first steps, first day of school, peer pressure, college and the wedding of our first daughter – and we still have three kids at home, including a five-year-old determined to keep up with her older siblings.

With every child who came into our home, I have wondered, Do I have what it takes?

Chosen and equipped

As I stood by Lisa at the birth of each of our children, I felt overwhelmed by the thought that God had chosen me, ready or not, to father this little person. He had chosen me to lead, guide and direct this child in the ways of the Lord. He had chosen me to lay down my wants and needs and to pour myself into this person under my care.

And He has chosen you, just as you are, to be a father to your children. He knows your heart, your longings, dreams and goals. He knows your exhaustion, frustration and worries. And He knows the overwhelming fear of inadequacy that sometimes creeps in as you kiss your kids good night.

God has stamped His father image in you and given you what you need to guide your children. He doesn’t care about the script of your past or what you think you can’t overcome. He has chosen you.

A verse that God has used to strangle the inadequacy in my heart is 2 Corinthians 9:8. "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound to every good work" [emphasis added]. Many times I have spoken this verse out loud when I didn’t know what else to do.

Sustained and strengthened

God favours you. His face shines upon you as you give yourself to the needs of your children. He is committed to blessing you as you seek His strength for your family.

"He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6). As that baby turns into a toddler and then a teenager and eventually a young adult, God will complete His work in you as a father.

I am a different dad in my late 40s than I was in my late 20s, but God has sustained me through every season of fatherhood. And despite all my inabilities and weaknesses, He has accomplished things through me that I could never have imagined.

In fact, God’s power is made perfect in our weaknesses. His strength is complete when we need Him the most. Our inadequacy is the incubator for the glory of God.

That is why the apostle Paul wrote, "I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. . . . For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Can you be the father God wants you to be? Do you have what it takes? Through the power of Christ, the answer is always yes!


© 2008 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

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