I vividly remember the day I found out I was going to become a father. When my wife Sairah shared the news that she was pregnant, I was overcome with a multitude of emotions. The joy of soon becoming a father was mixed with the fear of great responsibility. I dropped to my knees, weeping profusely. I cried out to the Lord in prayer, asking for His mercy, wisdom and strength to faithfully fulfill the role of a father. That was almost 25 years ago. Since then, I have received the same news on eight more occasions, but never again was I as overcome with emotion as I was that first time.
Becoming a new father is one of the most joyful experiences in life. It can also be overwhelming and sobering when considering the immense responsibility that comes with fatherhood, especially Christian fatherhood. Recalling those early years of interrupted sleep, diaper changes, and moments of immense joy, punctuated by illnesses and frustrations, I know that the new father needs much encouragement. So, here are a few thoughts that I hope will uplift the new dads among us as they go through this unique season of life.
New fathers, especially believers, are often overwhelmed by the responsibility that comes with fatherhood. We think into the future and often worry about all the things that might go wrong. This leads to constant second-guessing of our actions and to analysing long-term implications. Take each moment as it comes. Do not think too far into the future or worry about the long-term impacts of everything you do. Set the right examples in your home and in your interactions and then trust the sovereignty of God.
Do not worry about the long-term impacts of everything you do. Set the right examples in your home and then trust the sovereignty of God
Enjoy each moment with your newborn. Be in awe of the marvel of new life and of how God has designed this miraculous process that brings a newborn into the world. Helpless, defenseless and dependent, they are developed through nurture and care. The early years of a child are critical to character formation, and the bonds you build with your newborn will prove invaluable as the child grows and life gets more complicated. Yes, there will be tough days and frustrations, illnesses and accidents. But as you go through these experiences, remind yourself of the reality that “this too shall pass”.
Gain new spiritual insights through your season of being a new father. The Bible contains many references to children and newborns, which will become more real and impactful to you as you observe your child’s growth. The late night and early morning feedings bring to mind 1 Peter 2:2, which says: “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” In the same way, Hebrews 5:13-14 comes to life through a child’s graduation from milk to more complex foods: “Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
The Bible contains many references to children and newborns, which will become more real to you as you observe your child’s growth
As you watch the tender interactions between your child and your wife, consider Isaiah 49:15: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” When you feel a tinge of compassion for your child welling up inside, ponder Psalm 103:13: “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.” As I read the Scriptures through these new paternal experiences, deeper understandings and new applications emerge. The Word is truly “alive and active”, as Hebrews 4:12 states.
Embrace the opportunity parenthood gives you as a husband to “cherish and nourish” your wife (Ephesians 5:29). As a new mother, the physical and emotional load on your wife is immense. She needs your support. This is a time that can either strengthen the bonds of your marriage or fray them. There is a well-known quote that is quite insightful: “The single greatest thing a dad can do for his children is to love their mother.” Partnering with your wife to care for your children is a great opportunity to love sacrificially and build up your marriage. Engaging in this partnership builds lasting memories that will sustain your marriage for years to come.
To all of you new fathers, “Happy Father’s Day”. May you be truly blessed as you navigate through this exciting season of life.
A weekly brief of new resources and Scripture-based insights from our editorial team.