Luke 11: 11,12,13  “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

     A few days ago a group that I work with presented the movie called Courageous.  It is a movie about fathers doing the right thing for their families.  The movie highlights a major problem with today’s society;  far too many children are growing up without a father in their lives.  In the United States, statistics report that ninety percent of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. And seventy one percent of all high school drop outs are from fatherless homes.  The Canadian statistics show the same situation.  Sadly there are far too many children with no fathers to give them any gifts.  Sadly, there are many children who have fathers who don’t  know how to give good gifts.  How has fatherhood and the family deteriorated to such an extent?

     Secularisation has eroded the foundation of social stability – the family unit;  “As the most pervasive philosophy in our nation’s educational system, it strips society of Judeo-Christian values, replacing them with a self-centered and Godless world view. Commitment to the family unit is taught to be secondary to the fulfillment of one’s own desires. Family values are considered passé to comical in the television and movie industry. “Father Knows Best,” and “The Andy Griffith Show” have been replaced by programs that present broken families, illicit affairs, sex, rationalized homosexuality, and violence to such an extent that most people have lost their sensitivity to any of these issues.”  (American Journal of Biblical Theology

     The Bible is one of the few places a young man can go for advice and support on how to be a good father.  Yet, the Bible is a book that is actively and aggressively being suppressed in our ‘society’.  The best gift a man can give his son is the example of having a reverence for God and His Word.   At this I failed.  When my son was a child I took him to church, enrolled him in Sunday school and did everything that looked right in the eyes of the community.  Yet I failed to trust God with his life.  I always told him what he had to do to be successful.  Be good.  Study hard. Get good marks.  Go to University.  Get a professional job.  Build up savings.  Become independent.   My son, sick of always being lectured to and rarely heard, rebelled and turned to drugs.

      In all my advice there was no mention of God!  Even fathers who have worldly success can be utter failures!  I write this not to torment myself because God has had mercy on me  and restored my family.  I write this so that others may see my mistakes and not walk in them.  I write this as a testimony to God’s grace which works through terrible situations and difficult times restoring and healing those who are destitute and call upon His name.  “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  (Romans 10:13)

     A few years later, when my son had just started his recovery, he called me in crisis.    He wanted to abandon his program at Harvest House and go back to Vancouver.  He asked if I could come and talk to him.  As I was driving in to Ottawa, I felt that I had ‘run out of gas’.  I didn’t know what to do, what to say and I was exhausted.   I prayed to God; “Please help me – I’m done!  Tell me what to say.  Show me what to do.”  No great revelation unfolded in my mind and I just had to continue on with my desperate prayer as my only companion.

     When I arrived, my son and I went to the cafeteria for a coffee and a talk.  He quickly made his pitch;  “It’s crazy here.  I can’t take it.  I’ll go and use if I have to continue.  My girlfriend said she would take me back.  All I need is money to get back to British Columbia.  You have got to help me!”  What do you say to that?  Don’t help and he’ll go back to using.  Help and he’ll go back to taking advantage of someone else and start using again.  In a flash a desperate proposition came to my mind. It was a proposition that  put everything out of my control.  It was crazy.

     I said to my son;  “If you can tell me that Jesus agrees with what you have planned and that your plan doesn’t go against His Word,  I’ll help you with it.”  My son was silent for a moment and looked at me.  He said; “No, of course Jesus wouldn’t agree.  This is what I want to do.  Jesus wants me to stay here.”  My reply was; “Well then I won’t help you kill yourself.”

      “How will I get back to B. C. and my girl then?  How will I get the money?”

      “If you’re set on going back to B.C. and the past, Satan will provide you with every opportunity.  You can be sure of that.   I’ll only help you with what we both know God wants.”

     My son was having a lot of difficulty facing up to the hard work of recovery.  Confronting your addiction involves dealing with cravings and excoriating self assessment; “How can I continue, I can’t do it anymore.  It’s too tough.  Where will I get the strength to go on?”  As I quietly listened I noticed he was drinking coffee from an old mug that someone had donated to Harvest House.  On it was the scripture “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.”  (Phil 4:13)  I quietly said to him; “Well, you’re drinking from the right cup.  Take a look at it!”

     He looked at me like I was a little crazy myself and then he looked at the cup.  Hope and encouragement brightened his face.  I said to him; “Of all the days, of all the times, of all the cups that you could pour your coffee into, today you happened to end up with that cup!  I know one thing and that is if you stick with Him and His Word you’ll succeed! ”   My son said; “Ok, I’ll take it one day at a time that’s all I can do.  And I’ll do it with His help!”

     My son stayed at recovery.  The crisis was over because God answered my prayers and gave me what I needed to say at the right time.  Finally because of God’s grace,  I gave my son the best gift I could – the example of leaning on God’s Word.  Today, both of us stand on the solid rock of the Gospel.  We stand there as men, as equals, as father and son and as friends.

    “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”  (John 14:26)

     Praise the Lord!