Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.
College was a revelation. I had no concept of Christianity, the worldview it provided, or what a traditional family could look like. I had fashioned a life on my own and stumbled into Baylor, seemingly by mistake. It was as if I pushed through the coats in the back of the wardrobe and found another world. This was a land of King and Kingdom, fathers and sons, purpose and prosperity. It was wholly intoxicating and wholly inviting. I was desperately pursued and gladly found.
One of the revelations was of older men pursuing me and taking an interest. I had professors, upperclassmen, and the fathers of my friends, who had uncommon time for me, welcomed me into their lives, and seemed to genuinely care. I had always walked in the privilege of knowing that my father loved me, but this was completely different. Dad had experienced a pretty rough life and had little time, affection, or heart to spare. He was just surviving himself.
I went on a 30 year journey, beginning my freshman year. I called myself an “inverse Abraham,” a son of many fathers. I drank in fathering from friend’s dads, great authors, and any man whom I came into contact with that could offer a father’s wisdom, intentionality, or time. It was a season where I was loved and pursued in a manner that was uncommon to me. It was also a season where I was required to father and lead in ways that I felt completely unprepared.
The shift over the last year or so, seems to be ushering in a new season. Exposing a previously hidden path that I was unready to find. I am not fully prepared, but I feel more ready. I seem to have endless opportunity to speak, write, and offer back into the lives of younger men. Offer in ways that had been offered to me. The hope rising in me is that I am no longer just a “son of many fathers,” but also a “father of many sons.” The tragedy and trial of my life, as redeemed, has become the experiential currency to offer back to the generations that follow.
I want to offer, in kind. I feel as if I have feasted at the banquet table too long and am ready to offer my seat and prepare a plate for others. In some ways I feel just prepared enough to offer the true Father back to the sons of God… to remind them of something they have always known, but not fully understood. That is all that any of us really need.
I am grasping with both hands, this wildly extravagant life gift, true Sonship. In one of those incredible paradoxes of the gospel, it is in becoming more of a son, that I am truly able to father.
Are you living in sonship, as a son or daughter of a King?
Are you in the season of being a “son of many fathers” or a “father of many sons”?
Can you name who you are being fathered by or whom you are fathering?