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A Father’s Fight For Joy

But even as I reflect on the weight of this responsibility and admit my shortcomings in living up to it, I am not without hope. I look to God, who loves us as children because of His character, not our merit. Turning from my selfish ways, I pursue His glory and, in that pursuit, find incomparable joy. This overflows to my children as I learn daily to love them God’s way—with gladness.

“A wise son makes a glad father” (Proverbs 10:1a)

This verse stopped me in my tracks the other day. I thought I’d breeze right past it as I dove into Proverbs 10 during my morning quiet time, but this opening line would not let me go.

Am I a glad father?

Now, I know that the father is not the primary target in this verse. The writer is addressing the son, giving him instructions for good living. Be wise, and it will make your father glad. Perhaps you’ll think me selfish (or at least hermeneutically unsound) for making this verse about me, but the phrase glad father struck me deeply.

Again, my conscience asked, Am I a glad father?

Sometimes. Or, if not glad, I can at least be silly. But I’m not sure if my kids would use the word glad to describe my chief disposition. There’s good reason, I tell myself. Parenting is serious business. We have work to do, things to teach, discipline to deliver. Sometimes we need to set frivolity aside and buckle down. But where did I ever get the idea that gladness is a distraction? Biblical gladness is not an enemy of parental efficiency or success. Biblical gladness is fuel for the faithful parent. It’s humbling to realize my parenting can be so shortsighted that I forget something as obvious as that.

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