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June 25, 2020

A Pastoral Word. . .

Pastor Mark Adams

June 25, 2020
One of my favorite movies is Frequency, which stars Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel. I know it’s old, but I thought of it in this "Father’s Day Season" because it shows the potential impact of a father on his son.

In the film, Quaid plays a New York City Fireman living in the 60's, a devoted father and husband, who is killed in the line of duty when his son is only about 7. The boy grows up to be a policeman and one day when he’s in his mid-thirties, he’s playing around with his father’s old ham radio gear when he hears a familiar voice coming through the speaker. He engages the man in conversation and eventually discovers that he is talking to his own father who is living thirty years in the past. They talk for hours, father and son both thoroughly enjoying these precious moments. These conversations continue nightly for a few weeks and as they do, the son’s physical world literally changes around him. His apartment becomes brighter, cleaner, and better decorated.

But the most amazing effect of their conversations is the effect it has on the son himself. One result of his father’s absence for the last three decades had been his inability to commit to a relationship with the love of his life. He had become a heavy drinker, a lonely, empty man with no real purpose in life. But this time with his dad changes all that. As they talk, the son matures and eventually marries and has a son of his own.  

The film is a reminder of the fact that children will never go as far in life as they could without their dad’s distinctive aid. Studies confirm again and again that our children have needs that can only be met by their dads.  

James L. Schaller writes, "The absence of a mature father-child connection creates a void in the soul, a residual 'father hunger.'"

Robert Bly says that due to the absence of many dads, this generation thirsts for what he calls, "father water."

Experts like these realize that fathers give children, for good or for bad, what no one else can.  Unfortunately, many dads these days are not using their power wisely. Studies show there is a father-absence crisis in America. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 19.7 million children (more than 1 in 4) live without a father in the home and only 34% of the respondents in one survey said that they considered their own father to be a role model.

This is a sad state for any society to be in for many reasons:
  • Fatherless children are more likely to commit crimes and engage in substance abuse.
  • On average fatherless children score lower on tests and have lower grade point averages.
  • Children of father-absent families are five times more likely to be poor and ten times more likely to be extremely poor.
  • Adolescents in mother-only families are more likely to be sexually active, and daughters are more likely to become single-parent mothers.

There are several factors behind the decline of fatherhood, but one of them is itself a consequence of this crisis: many young dads admit they don’t have good role models to follow.
Actually, they do. The perfect role model is our Heavenly Father. In 2nd Corinthians 6:18 God says, "I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters." In Matthew 9:6 Jesus taught us to begin our prayers by saying, "Our FATHER" and the word "Father" is literally translated as "Abba" which means "Daddy."

Christian fathers who pattern their parenting after God learn to be patient, forgiving, and unconditionally loving.  They raise children who are the same.

Keep the SON in your eyes!
Mark
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