Three weeks ago today on Thursday, October 11, 2012 (10/11/12) my whole world changed. One minute I’m sleeping in on a lazy day, getting ready to work on my paper and translate some Josephus, the next minute I’m running around like a mad man throwing random stuff into a bag and speeding off to the hospital. Before I know it I am watching the most miraculous thing I have ever experienced. I am watching the birth of my beautiful son. They say that the realization that you’re a dad doesn’t hit you until they actually put the baby into your arms. It hit me the moment I saw the little guy, and nearly knocked me off my feet. I felt nearer to God in that moment than I had in a very long time, for the miracle of life was unfolding right before my eyes.
The weeks to follow have been a blur, but as I reflect on what has taken place, a few things are forefront in my mind above all else.
1. I don’t deserve this. It’s true. I don’t. The grace and kindness of God hit me like a freight train when I met my wife, Ashleigh, who I have failed again and again. Now it hits me every time I look into my son’s eyes or watch him sleep. No one deserves God’s gracious kindness…especially this. I can only be thankful and seek to honor God and trust fully in him as I seek to raise my son.
2. I have no idea what I’m doing! How can I raise this boy to be a godly young man, when I know my own heart? I am more aware now of my inadequacies as a man, a husband and now a father than I’ve ever been. This is a camel through the needle’s eye kind of task, and on my own, I would surely fail miserably. All I can do is start changing diapers like a madman, and pray that God will give me the grace and strength to be a godly father one more day, and then another, and another. Gratefully, I have the best wife/mother in the world at my side reminding me of God’s love and kindness and providing assurance that JP’s in good hands with her. I also had a wonderful example of fatherhood in my own dad, and my mom taught me what it truly was to sacrificially lay down your life daily for your own children. When all else fails, what would my parents do?!
3. God, save my son. I am a strong believer in God’s absolute sovereignty in salvation. This gives me great comfort for two reasons. First, God is perfectly just and wise. He surely will do right, and JP is in his hands. There is no greater comfort than this. Second, my son’s salvation is not up to me. Again, very comforting, because if it were then he’d be in trouble! No, our God is mighty to save and he is drawing his people to himself. My role as a father is to pray every day for God to be merciful to my son, and to save him at a young age. And to preach the gospel to him constantly, knowing that God has ordained the means by which he will hear and believe.
Today JP was laying on the couch and I cuddled up next to him to watch him sleep. I will forever be in awe at the wonder of life, and the kindness God has shown to us through this little gift we named John Paul.