Today is my youngest daughter Becky’s birthday. Today is also the birthday of Marc Alan Lee, the son of Karen and my dear friend Debbie Lee. Marc and my son Eddie were both great warriors who, as Debbie describes it, just beat us to heaven. Debbie always says “I have three children, one just beat me to heaven.” I too have three children, and on just beat me to heaven.
While there is sorrow in losing a child, there is also joy knowing that child beat us to heaven. Of course on memorable days such as the birthday of a departed child, there is joy knowing that he or she is in heaven because they were a child of God. The Lord’s great blessing to parents are children. An even greater blessing for a believing parent is when that child is born again.
The day Becky was born was so joyous to me. She stole a piece of my heart that day and has never given it back. I wouldn’t take it back even if she tried to return it. It is hard to believe it has been 28 years since that day. She’s grown up to be such a lovely and successful woman; it’s becoming more difficult to see her as my little girl. She’s always been a daddy’s girl, but has been strongly independent and goal-minded from an early start.
There were years that I was not a godly example for my children. I praise God that he brought me to the end of myself so that while my children were going through their teen years I had finally come back to the Lord. The Lord desires fathers to be a godly example unto their children. We are not only the protector/provider of our family, but we are also the pastor of our family. When we do this the Lord will preserve and prosper us. He desires to bless us through our families:
“That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as pillars, sculptured in palace style.” (Psalm 144:12)
I give thanks to the Lord that when it counted most, I was able to teach my children the importance and heavenly value of godly wisdom. While it is important for our children to get an education and to be productive members of society, those things are temporal. The eternal treasures of heaven are wrapped up in the nuggets of Biblical wisdom we find and unwrap along the pathway of life. King David poured himself into the life of his son Solomon, who would eventually write:
“Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding; for I give you good doctrine: do not forsake my law. When I was my father’s son, tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, he also taught me, and said to me: ‘Let your heart retain my words; keep my commands, and live.’” (Proverbs 4:1-4)
A parent’s greatest heartbreak is when a child goes astray in some way. Perhaps that child was raised in a loving, godly home but has rejected the Biblical teaching he or she has received. It can be very disappointing indeed; our Heavenly Father has experience such disappointment:
“For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; for righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.” (Isaiah 5:7)
While disappointment in parenting will come, we must embrace the words of Solomon to keep us forever hopeful:
“Children’s children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father.” (Proverbs 17:6)
As you know by now, I have a grandson named Benjamin from my oldest daughter Tiffany and her husband Ben. He is such a joy and I love pouring my heart into him. I so desire to see him grow into a godly young man, and his Mommy and Daddy are doing a great job of raising him in godly manner.
As David wrote in Psalm 144, our children are like plants that we nurture and get to watch grown into amazing adults. Commenting on Psalm 144:12, our old friend Matthew Henry wrote:
“It adds much to the comfort and happiness of parents in this world, to see their children likely to do well; to see them as plants, not as weeds, not as thorns; to see them as plants growing, not withered and blasted; to see them likely to bring forth fruit unto God in their day; to see them in their youth growing strong in the Spirit.”
I can attest that I am comforted knowing that all my children are going to heaven; one has beat me there. I know that Debbie Lee draws great comfort and happiness knowing all though Mark would have been 36 today, he is eternally living with the Lord Jesus Christ. I feel the same way about Eddie.
Parents, do not grow weary in doing well raising your children while they are growing up. The great joy will be sitting in the seat of counsel with them once they are adults.
That is my great joy today. Today I will celebrate my daughter Becky’s birthday, reminding myself through the day to thank my Heavenly Father for allowing me to be Becky’s earthly daddy.
Happy Birthday Boo!
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Copyright © 2014 David Jeffers