God’s Not-so-secret Secret Weapon
It was Father’s Day last week and I’m still thinking about it. I am encouraged that there seems to be a larger spotlight shining on how important father figures are in our world.
While staffing an initial weekend with Carl Sutter, a key leader in The Crucible Project’s Colorado community, I heard him say: “Fathers are God’s secret weapon for changing the world.” I agree. While there are lots of ways to influence children today, there is nothing quite like a strong relationship with a mature father-figure to influence the way a child should go.
In his book Safe House: How Emotional Safety Is the Key to Raising Kids Who Live, Love, and Lead, Dr. Joshua Straub cites a 30-year study of 1,377 students. Researchers found that the single common factor for mental illness, hypertension, malignant tumors, coronary heart disease, and suicide was not diet or exercise.
The single greatest predictor for all of these illnesses was “lack of closeness to the parents, especially the father” (p.31).
No earthly father is perfect. You may have had a rocky relationship with your dad. In other cases, your father may have been a passive, or silent … or even intimidating and scary. As for me, I used to see my dad as a passive man. He definitely wasn’t Arnold “get-to-the-chopaaaaahhhh” Schwarzenegger, who was acting the way I thought a man should. But, as my dad lays incapacitated in a bed a few oceans away, I am forgiving.
My dad left his home and started working at age 11. He failed several grades in school, but eventually obtained a prestigious position as a teacher and lawyer through the top school in Thailand. But for the American dream, he eventually left his prestige and his homeland, friends and family. In America, he washed dishes at a Red Lobster, then settled in to a career as a press operator making $2 an hour. The racial slurs and jokes were a bonus. Despite facing such challenges, he stayed true to his nature — gentle, kind, and loving.
He definitely isn’t perfect. Nor are you or I. We all have gold and shadow. And as the sun sets on my dad’s physical life, I find myself forgiving. The more I forgive him, the more I realize that my own shadows (arrogance, pride, fear, ignorance) that keep me from fully experiencing God’s fatherly love. When I open myself up (in the right spaces) in my weakness I am made strong…with father love, pride, and joy.
My heavenly Father, my biological father, my father-in-law, and many other father figures love me the best they can, just as I love my own son the best I can.
I began to experience this forgiveness and father love more when I accepted Christ as my Lord. And my experience deepened dramatically when I joined The Crucible Project community. I love that we are in a community of men who show us what this father wound looks like, and helps us to see that a lot of father love surrounds us. If you doubt this fact, look into the eyes of a child. They’re searching for a good, good father. And he is there in between.
- How have you experienced father love?
- What keeps you from experiencing father love?
- What if God, our Father would meet you at a retreat? Would you come?
By Marc Mantasoot
Marc completed his initial Crucible weekend in 2004 and graduated from our two-year transformational program in 2008. He wants to help others pursue their God-given joy and free the world of ego. He is an award-winning poet, writer, small groups/discipleship coach, high school English teacher and martial arts trainer. He provides powerful methods for life transformation at marcmantasoot.com. His greatest joys: Creating scenes with his son, lining up My Little Ponies with his baby girl, and pursuing his irresistible wife.
Photo Credit: Rolands Lakis via Creative Commons