They are given responsibility, have the greatest burdens placed on them, and are expected to fix things - these are fathers in the prime of their lives. They are also indispensable in the church.

They are young, full of strength and energy. Childhood and adolescence are behind them; the time of exclusive taking and learning is over; and they can give back with their work, create additional value, and help others. They are fathers in the prime of their lives. They have come to know and love God as their Father (1 John 2:13). They have matured into people who meet the challenges of everyday life and the particular crises of the present responsibly and prudently.

It is always a gift for them when they come home and can hold their children in their arms and romp and play with them. They feel just as responsible for the well-being, upbringing, and education of the children as the mothers do. In many young families, the role of fathers has changed. Very often, the idea of parents as a team is redefined. Whereas the principle of a clear division of tasks used to apply in the past, today parents often solve issues together. This makes daily life more varied and efficient for both of them but not necessarily calmer and more relaxed.

Fathers stand their ground. That’s why actions are more important to them than words. While his sweetheart likes to hear the words “I love you,” it is quite natural for him to show her this with reliability and constant care rather than words. While she is still talking about the problem, he has already started working on the solution. “Don’t talk – do” is the way he deals with things. She may take his caring actions for granted. But she probably doesn’t realize that this loyalty costs him many a sacrifice when she is waiting for flowers or words.

Names immediately come to mind when some tasks need to be done in the congregation. The sisters often wish and plan, the young people and senior citizens also have their ideas – but who should do it? The fathers. We really need them in church life. They are indispensable because they carry a considerable part of the load and burden.

Christian fathers know God and the power of the Holy Spirit. They feel so indescribably dependent on Him in all the challenges they face because all too often, they lack the solution, the answer to the pressing question, and wisdom for upcoming decisions. Dad is the hero who knows everything and can do everything. The child feels safe and secure in his presence. But how often he feels his weakness and helplessness. Sometimes he talks to his wife and friends about his worries and his fear of future developments. He wants to do the right thing, make the right decisions, and pave the way for his loved ones. It is good that he finds strength and guidance in his daily interaction with God, the inexhaustible source.

I can still vividly remember when I was between 35 and 42 years old. For years, I had heard the warning sermons about the end times in which we find ourselves. Some preachers painted the gloomy picture in the darkest colors of hardship and misery, apostasy, and ungodliness. As I listened to the sermons, it seemed impossible to me that our children and later our grandchildren would turn to God and be saved. At that time, my four children were between 5 and about 18 years old. And there should be no hope for my children? I cried out to God in many prayers for grace and mercy until one day God taught me the song: “He is still the same today!” Just as God was at the time of Joseph, Moses, David, Daniel and the time of the disciples, so He is still the same today. God directed my gaze away from the hardships and dangers to the strong hero for whom even the most difficult things are not too difficult. I was able to lay my burdens at His feet and trust Him, and God gave us as a congregation years of blessing that we had no idea of at the time.

Many fathers feel the same way I do when they see the spiritual development of society in general and the church in particular, a development that gives little cause for hope. A whole series of young fathers see the need in the churches and see the great lack of workers in the kingdom of God. They are aware of some needs that have become the norm over time, and they cry out to God for mercy, for they are concerned about the future of their children and grandchildren. They are not interested in modern Christianity but in a powerful and inviting worship of and service to God in modern times.

Sometimes they have the impression that the older brothers and sisters are so excited about heaven that they neglect the needs of the present and future. That’s why fathers stand in the gap – taking responsibility and crying out to God for a revival. They long for their children and grandchildren to still see and experience Zion and that in the years to come, the glory of God in the church will still be the norm, and the powerful work of the Holy Spirit will be a matter of course.

We need the energy and sacrifice of fathers, their love, and their will to solve problems. So let us thank God for them. Let us be patient with them if not everything is perfect and complete, for God also has an individual development plan for them. The Lord works on them in His masterful workshop and shapes them according to His will and pleasure. May His work glorify Him, the divine Master.

Let us pray for fathers that God will give them new courage, strength, patience, and grace every day. Let us ask God to give them wisdom to follow the path of grace unwaveringly and thus prepare the way for the next generations in the good pleasure of God.

Hermann Vogt

Gifhorn, Germany

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