Loving His Heavenly Father While Missing His Earthly One.
“Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are!” John3:1 (HCSB)
Charles’ dad died when he was only nine months old, and this loss affected him greatly. He started his life feeling abandoned by a person of great value that this child would never meet. His name is Charles and he tells us that as earnest and attentive as she was, Charles’ mother could not replace the firm guiding hand of the father he did not have. He entered the world without a reference point. Charles would never have the older and wiser version of him to look for nor the needed knowledge, direction and compassion.
Charles’ mother was a believer and she was convinced of the Lord’s love and paternal presence, so, every night, before going to sleep, they both went down to their knees and talked to the Father as if He really cared and was interested in the details of their lives. Charles learned to talk with God before he ever believed in Him. His mother introduced this boy into the only person that could ever replace the earthy father he never had. In his life, an insatiable hunger for something he could not name, the God of his mother’s Bible, who claimed that nothing could separate Charles from his love, had begun a relentless pursuit of his heart. Pursuit that would not end until the day Charles surrendered his heart and life to him.
Well into his adult years, Charles struggled with the concept of God as his Father, of sensing his love and understanding how he wanted to interact with him. Having never known his father, Charles grew up with a whole in his heart. When Charles got married and was raising his children, the time he most enjoyed during the year were the two weeks of vacation when he could spend this time with his own family. They drove to the beach and he enjoyed listening to them, their questions, their opinions. He wanted to share the time he never had with his earthly dad.
Charles purposely talked with his children about his relationship with God and how he was also interested in developing a relationship with them. The thing Charles most wanted to give to his own children, he could not. He could only introduce them to Him and wait and see as they also decided to receive the gift of love from the Eternal Father.
This writing is about Charles Stanley, author, and pastor of First Baptist Atlanta. He has guided his children to know God as much as he does. He has ministered to many, thanks to the prayer and guidance of his own mother. On this Father’s Day, I congratulate mothers and fathers that have guided their own and many more to a close relation with God. I celebrate those that raised faithful Christians, husbands, wives, Sunday school teachers, preachers, missionaries, Sunday school teachers. Discipleship starts at home. Happy Father’s Day.
Your servant in Jesus Christ,
Charles Stanley: Prayer, the ultimate conversation. Gale CENGAGE Detroit 2012. Pgs. 95-143