During our worship service last Sunday, John Robertson shared a testimony of growing as a dad over the last year. What I loved the most about John’s story is that he gave no pretense of perfection as a father. Rather, he explained how God has been strong and faithful in the midst of his weakness. John’s not alone. Our church is full of men who are fighting to grow in their role as fathers “from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18).
Eric Vollman is one of those dads. Eric is also one of the guys in my men’s fellowship group. Twice a month, we get together for breakfast to help one another know our sin, fight our sin, and trust our Savior. I’ve watched Eric grow by leaps and bounds as a dad over the last year. He was kind to answer a couple questions about God’s work in his life.
What was your relationship with God like when you became a dad?
When I first became a father, my relationship with God was pretty nonexistent. I knew some things about God, but looking back, it was like I knew some basic information, but did not by any means have a relationship with him. That is to say that I knew God as well as your favorite quarterback or movie actor. It was not until I found God, or rather, when he revealed himself to me, that I began to recognize the importance of being a father beyond a worldly sense of the term.
As your relationship with God has grown, what changes have you witnessed in your parenting?
My son likes to climb on the couch a lot, despite my repeated attempts to tell him otherwise. Inevitably the time comes when he falls off of the couch and injures himself in some way. When this happens, I’m called through tears by name into action. Running to his aid to comfort him, I have to remind him again that Daddy tells him not to climb the couch because I don’t want to see him get hurt. I tell him that although I want him to be happy; he needs to know that real joy will come by trusting that Daddy knows what’s best for him. It’s in that moment where this idea makes sense to him the most and prevents him from repeating the same mistake for at least another 5 minutes. I think every Christian father realizes one day that this relationship he has with his children is much like the one he has with his God. When God revealed this to me, I began to seek more grace, patience, and gentleness with my kids.
What would you say to someone who feels like a failure as a father?
I would tell him that, looking with in himself, what he is feeling is inescapably true. Failing even once makes us failures as fathers in that sense, BUT there is a father who never fails. A perfect father whose promises can be trusted and who’s grace and mercy has redeemed our failures through Christ who died for those failures! I would tell him that to be a father, one must first know what it is like to be a son and that’s what God is working in us. He is transforming us daily to be more like his perfect son. If a man believes this, he cannot fail because God isn’t in the business of failing.
Thank you for your example, Eric!