Dad, Please Ask!

A young man’s plea to hear his father’s voice.

Brad is one of those young men poised to do great things. In a couple of years gaggles of grey-headed grandmothers will be dragging their bewildered granddaughters across crowded church fellowship halls in hopes of sparking a romance. He is a godly young man and I can hardly blame those well-intentioned octogenarians. But I must ask those blue haired matchmakers to plug their ears for a moment because I am about to remove the rose-colored glasses.

Brad is a sinner AND he’s a young man. Combine these two volatile substances and the explosion invariably produced will be lust. Yes. Even the squeaky-clean kid who compliments those old grandmas on their Easter hats and is the first to volunteer to help stack the chairs at church, struggles with lust.

I found out about Brad’s particular struggle one day when I asked him routinely if there was anything that I could be praying for. With a slight halting embarrassment he said, ” Uh … you know … uh … the stuff that guys tend to struggle with … uh … lust …”

Brad is a typical example of most young Christian men. He’d never talked to his dad about this subject and His father had never talked to him about it in any more than vague generalities. So for years his son had been struggling under a burden of sexual sin that could have been quickly lifted by the assistance of the man sitting on the couch right next to him. There is no one in a better position to be able to help our sons become godly men than fathers who understand their own need for the grace of God.

I encouraged Brad to talk to his dad that night, which to his credit he did, and later he described how the immense weight of his sin had immediately been lifted. He felt great! One dad who invests in his son is one thousand times more effective than a whole stadium full of pastors, youth workers, or well-intentioned friends.

I followed-up with Brad a couple weeks later to see how things had been going. He said that he had been doing well. “You have any other conversations with your dad yet?” “Nope, not yet” he replied.

Another two weeks passed and I gave him another call. This time the news was not so good. He’d fallen back into his old habit again and was devastated. “What has your dad said?” I asked. “Nothing.” Was Brad’s response, “we haven’t talked about my struggle since I first told him.”

Brad then went on to tell me that one night, shortly after he began to slip back into his lustful habits and fear of returning to slavery began to grip him, he was standing in his room with the door open as his father passed by. Brad told me that as his father walked down the hall he was crying out inside, “Dad, please ask me … just ask!” But his dad, like so many nights before, walked past without a word. His dad assumed either that the problem had been solved by one conversation or that he had nothing further to offer his son. Neither of these conclusions were true.

Dads are supposed to be the coaches that help their sons practice the game of life in a secure and loving environment so that when game-time actually comes they are prepared. Dads — we have the power to be used by God to free our sons, or to sit idly by foolishly hoping that our sons will “figure it out” more effectively than we did. Let’s not be stupid. Without our voice we ought to expect that the results will be just as disastrous as they were for us. Don’t you think our Heavenly father is pleased when dads follow his example and mercifully go to our sons to help them in their need rather than waiting for our sons to force us to do our job? Pick up the amazing mantel God has given you. Cultivate and enjoy the fruit that Malachi promised would grow in the lives of families in which the gospel is present. Take those steps needed to turn your heart toward your children and theirs toward yours. — Malachi 4:6

Don’t leave your son crying out like Brad did “Dad, just ask …” let him hear your life-giving voice.

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