“This stuff seems so easy to remember and do.” That was what a friend of mine said during a men’s time before church a couple Sundays ago. He, of course, is single (which is not a crime, mind you). He was referring to what we had just learned from a sermon on DVD about being a godly husband. I was sitting to his left and a tad behind his periphery. As he went on, I was shaking my head.
One of our pastors, who leads the time, was smiling. He said, “James is saying, ‘NO WAY.'” “You have no idea,” I said with a smile.
My friend went on: “Oh, I know. I realize it’s probably really difficult. I’m just saying.”
Probably? I’m just saying…
Our little men’s group knows that being a godly husband is infinitely more than just dos and don’ts. I’m reminded of that as I read The Masculine Mandate, by Rick Phillips. It’s not your average book for Christian men. It’s more than that. It’s not chapter after chapter of stuff for a guy to do in order to be a better man, husband, and father. It’s a book with theology and wisdom about how to become what Christ has created men to be. It’s a book about being a redeemed man, husband, and father. I’m tired of being told how to be better by some author who thinks he has the secret to a great marriage. Honestly, I just want to be challenged to live like I’m new — because that’s what I am.
I don’t have the book in front of me now, otherwise I’d quote Rick and stop rambling. Hopefully I’ll have time to review it when I’m finished. But for now, I can say one thing — and I’m sure most Christian husbands would agree: I am continually aware of my inadequacies as a husband. What’s encouraging is that life and marriage are not sprints. No, they are long marathons. I need a lot of grace to do this right, and what a joy that God gives grace beyond measure.
Before I sign off, I want to say something to my wife (I hope she reads this…I might have to tell her):
Carly, I want to say, in front of all five people who read this blog, that other than Jesus, nothing delights me more in this world than you. I apologize for not always showing that with my words, my actions, and my desires. Thank you for your grace, your forgiveness, and your patience as I become the man God has already made me to be. It’s a marathon, darling, and there’s no one else in this world I’d rather run it with than you. I love you.
Two weeks ago, Carly and I were at Panera Bread for a brunch-time with the Lord. We sat across the aisle from a dad with his young son. This kid was pretty energetic, talkative, and pretty cute. I’m guessing he was no older than seven. At first glance, I thought, Cool, a dad on a brunch hang-out with his son.
Then I actually paid attention.
At first, I’ll admit. Their whole interaction distracted me from reading the book of James. But as the dad and his son interacted, my heart couldn’t help but break. I don’t know if there was significant amounts of eye contact. Dad acted as if his son was a burden. Dad could have cared less about the crazy stories his son told him — the kind only a seven year old can tell.
The boy seemed like a fun little conversationalist. Dad seemed no more engaging than a freshly painted wall. The boy asked Dad to take him to the bathroom. Dad sharply replied, “Can’t you go yourself?” “Show me where it is,” the son asked. Dad got up. “Over there,” he pointed.
This guy didn’t have a ring on his finger. Maybe he just didn’t wear one? No. Multiple times I heard him say to his son, “Your mom,” and the boy once said to his dad, “When will I come over your house?” He’s just a guy who divorced a woman out of convenience or got her pregnant and left.
This young boy needs a good dad. He needs a dad who loves Jesus, reads his Bible, romances mom, works hard, and looks his son in the eye and speaks as if he is talking to the most important person in the world when it’s brunch at Panera.
Sometimes I wonder what’s worse: a bad dad who ignores his son at Panera or just flat out leaves him before he’s even born. My heart says that there might be less pain in the latter. I’m a little tardy for a Father’s Day post, but to my dad, Tim Pruch, thanks for being a good one — a God-glorifying one. Thanks for taking us out, paying attention to us, and loving (and still loving us) like we mean the world to you.