When I was 10, all I’d ever known at home was chaos. I was the oldest of four children, and the atmosphere for all of us was volatile. My father and mother were in constant conflict, making divorce seem the only possible outcome.
But that was the year my dad put his faith in Christ. He immediately became fired-up about God and the Bible. He became an instant evangelist, consumed with God’s Word.
My mom hadn’t liked my dad as a sinner, and she liked him even less as a saint. After he became a Christian, my mom did everything she could to make his life difficult. Dad couldn’t even read his Bible until Mom went to sleep because she’d make his life so miserable when he did. But Dad, committed to aligning himself underneath God, did everything he could to show Mom love in spite of how she treated him.
Rather than divorce her, he loved her unconditionally. Month after month, Mom tried anything and everything to break his focus on God and to get him to stop showing love to her. But nothing worked. Dad was calm, consistent, and caring.
Around midnight one night, my mom came down the stairs with tears in her eyes. Dad was reading his Bible. When he saw her tears, he asked what was wrong. She told him she couldn’t understand how the more she rejected him, the kinder he was to her.
“I want what you have,” she said, “because it must be real.” They both got down on their knees, and my dad led my mom to Christ.
After that, he led all of us kids to the Lord. And he modeled daily for us the value of making God and His Word our central focus.
Had my dad lacked the courage to dedicate himself to God and our family in spite of harsh opposition, my own home would have become a statistic. I would have ended up as a casualty. My children could have ended up that way, too.
Yet, because of God’s grace and His use of my dad, the opposite happened. All four of my children are effectively serving in ministry in one capacity or another.
The impact of a father on a home, the impact of a husband on a marriage, and the impact of a man on a church or community can’t be emphasized enough. My own father’s influence dramatically altered the trajectory of my life, affecting more people than he can know of this side of heaven. I thank God for my father and pray that He will raise up fathers just like him across our nation.
The Urban Alternative