At the dawn of creation, for the benefit of civilization, God introduced his wonderful family plan: one mother and one father; one woman and one man.
Many mornings find me giving thanks that my parents loved each other and loved me. The most valuable gift a father can give to his children is a daily demonstration that he loves their mother.
I’m the son of a farmer, horse-trader, who taught me to rise early, work hard and quit late. Solomon’s words could have come from my father’s lips: “Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes (which meant get up at 6 a.m.), and thou shalt be filled with bread,” Proverbs 20:13. In my case at that time, it was probably pancakes.
My father was an encourager and confidence builder. I still remember some of his friends telling him he would spoil me if he didn’t stop praising my work, but he knew the more he praised the harder I would work so he ignored their warnings.
I can’t remember one put-down coming from my father. I’m sure his confidence was sometimes better than my performance, but knowing he believed in me made a difference and I’m grateful for the positive influence he had on my life.
Getting to know my heavenly Father was the result of the coming together of many experiences and influences.
Sometimes, in memory, I scan the crowd of those who had a part in modeling their Lord before me, convincing me of his love. The strong faith and faithfulness of my mother was vital to establishing this relationship, as was the earnest work of Sunday school teachers, vacation Bible school workers, believing friends, faithful pastors and visiting evangelists.
The crucial connection to my heavenly Father came near the close of a Sunday night service. Pastor Leon Wood finished his sermon by explaining that knowing God was a matter of the heart responding to his love in personal faith.
“That’s what I want,” I said silently.
And though no one in the church knew that anything unusual had taken place, I knew I had gained another father, an eternal one who would never let me down nor leave me alone.
Years later, a pretty young woman walked into my life and ultimately down a church aisle to be my bride and give me another father. Pastor Martin Blok, her father, was the pastor of the church where I served as the minister of youth and music.
Pastor Blok was more than my father-in-law; he was my mentor, my friend and teacher.
One Sunday morning, he announced there would be a special speaker the following Sunday.
“Who’s the special speaker?” I asked later.
“You are,” he replied, taking me by surprise and launching me on a career that continues to be more exciting every year.
I’ve been blessed by two fathers who placed confidence in me and one in whom I’ve learned I can place full confidence. How fortunate I am.
Expecting the best from our children helps bring out the full potential of their lives.
Expecting the best from our heavenly Father demonstrates we believe he is good all the time. And he is!
Roger Campbell is an author, radio broadcaster and newspaper columnist from Waterford, Mich. He has written more than 20 books and has had articles published in most major Christian magazines. He was a pastor for 22 years and has been a guest speaker in Alaska churches from Anchorage to Homer.
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