In December, I had the privilege to witness a powerful event: a blessing. A father who had MS and was unable to stand blessed his son and bride at their wedding. I was amazed and inspired to hear the scriptural truths pour forth from this elderly saint’s heart and mind as he blessed these two newlyweds. Without a script, that godly man spoke truth over, and into, the lives of this devoted young couple for at least five minutes.
I felt as if I was on holy ground as I witnessed this event that was videotaped fifteen years earlier. I also had trouble processing what I had just witnessed. The words and evident love and affection between father and son impacted me at a deep level. It has now been several weeks since I watched this sacred utterance, and I am still trying to assimilate what I observed.
This grainy family wedding video was being shown to a group of ministry leaders at a conference where we were seeking to find out ways that we could teach and encourage fathers. As one man succinctly stated, all of the current social ills of our society stem from fatherlessness. Any yet here we were, observing a sacred example of a godly father affirming and blessing his son and his new daughter-in-law.
The father, who was the vehicle for this heavenly benediction, had not been raised in a godly Christian home. He desperately wanted his children to have every spiritual advantage that he had not received. To that end, he read books on raising godly children, including The Blessingby John Trent and Gary Smalley.
When the video concluded, the son, who was the recipient of those inspired words, stood and addressed us with words of comfort and hope. Many of us were wishing we had received a similar blessing from our earthly father and he comforted us by pointing us to the word of God. In Ephesians 1:3 the Spirit informs us that “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,…has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing.” While we may not have received a blessing from our earthly Dads, in Christ, we have been given “every spiritual blessing.”
Then this man, whom I will identify later, imparted a vision and hope for the next generation, as he told us what it was like being the recipient of such an anointed blessing. He said that many children live for the blessing of their father, while he lives from the blessing of his father.
I think about what motivates me and other men. Many of my friends and I are looking for approval and acceptance from our Dad. I could tell you many examples, but one sticks out to me: I was watching the US Open on Father’s Day with my brother and my dad. Ken Venturi, who had won major championships, bared his soul and told how he longed to have his father say “well done, son.” For him, golf had been the vehicle to earn this praise. But regardless of how well he did, his father never affirmed him, until one day, when he despaired of life, his dad told him “he had always been number one in his book.” Those simple words changed his life.
I am one of many who would dearly love to have a written or verbal blessing from my earthly dad. He did the best he could, with the resources that he had, and I rise up and honor his memory. But deep down, I crave the affirmation that only a dad can bequeath. In the past few years, the Spirit of God has satisfied this longing by making me know in my heart that I am an adopted son of my Heavenly Father.
Now I am a father, and it is my earnest hope and desire that my sons will experience life not looking for my blessing, but living from my blessing. You and I are living in troubled times, but also wonderful times. The Spirit of God is turning the hearts of fathers to their children, children’s hearts to their father, and all of our hearts to our Heavenly Dad.
Thankful for my earthly dad and eternally grateful for my Heavenly Dad,
P.S.: The man who received the blessing was Stephen Kendrick. He related that his frail father had also pronounced similar blessings at his brothers’ weddings. Part of the blessing was that his sons would be fruitful in reaching thousands with the gospel. If the name is not familiar, these Kendrick brothers have produced several inspiring movies pointing thousands of people to Christ, including Fireproof, Courageous, and War Room.