Fathers get a bad rap. But let me tell you, when you have a good father, even the thought of losing him makes you painfully aware of the gaping hole in your heart that would be left if he were gone. I’m grateful that as I write this in the month of my father’s birthday, I can still let him know that flaws and all, he’s made this little girl’s life sweeter. In recent weeks I’ve found myself reminded of how even in my father’s darkest days, before his head hit the pillow, his knees would hit the floor beside his bed. He sometimes fell asleep there praying and my mother would have to wake him up! Just last week, I was asked the question, “Who has discipled you in your life?”. This question brought me back to all the school assignments in which I had to talk about a person who inspired me or was my hero. I never had to think about it. It never changed. Even during black history month. It didn’t matter how much I learned about Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman or even George Washington Carver (always a favorite of mine), I wrote about my grandfather for every paper having anything to do with a person you admired. And though Alzheimer’s has taken his mind far from who he once was, I visit my grandfather and thank God for how I’ve been tremendously blessed to have had him for as long as I did and still do, just in a different way now. I’ve experienced a lot of losses in my life so I can tend to let these memories catapult me into dreadful thoughts of how I will manage without these great men being here on the earth. But putting things in proper perspective, I smile with thanksgiving, treasuring up hope in my heart for days ahead. Fast forwarding to when my husband, who’s birthday is also in this month, could be graced to be such a father and maybe even grandfather. Maybe God will be gracious enough to allow there to be a moment in time when my grandfather, father, and husband will all three be present with my own son or daughter. That is a bold prayer to pray but I pray it knowing that God is able to do exceeding abundantly, above all that I can ever ask or think. I want to refer back to a word I mentioned earlier, flaws. My father and grandfather have shortcomings as fathers and as men but I love how God doesn’t allow our shortcomings to limit Him or how he can use us for His glory. The lives of King David, Rahab, and the Apostle Paul clearly illustrate this point. Jesus died for sinners who will not be perfected until He comes again. So let’s pray for the fathers that seem to have it all right and for those who seem to have it all wrong. Pray for grace to be extended, for hearts to be turned first toward Jesus, and then toward their families. I wrote the poem below several years ago for a man who was a spiritual father to me and I also read it at my grandfather’s retirement ceremony. It really is an ode to all of the fathers I’ve had in my life. Feel free to share it with a special father in your life (and insert his name where I have my grandfather’s listed below).
How Great Men Are Made by Manda Lollar
You wonder how great men are made.
You hear it doesn’t happen overnight but when they emerge it seems possible; Possible that a person can be both flawed and great at the same time.
When greatness emerges it’s sometimes as if the flaws don’t exist but the flaws are what make it so great.
What I love about the greatest men is that they aren’t great at all.
What I love about great men like Moses, King David, Paul the Apostle, and yes, Reverend Dr. Rudy Carnell Brooks, is that their greatness is not their own.
Because on their own they were cowards, adulterers, murderers, average, sin-stained members of this human race. Greatness emerged when each of these men surrendered to the Greater One, Elohim, Jehovah, Yeshua the Messiah.
Surrender to the Greater One is what separates the men from the boys, the life defining moments from the, “oh, I had a conversation with him once”.
See being a great man doesn’t mean being great in every situation, but knowing you won’t be. It’s a marriage of humility, strength and love.
But back to earlier wonderings of how these great men are made. The answer is this,
They are born.
Because they were foreknown, predestined;
They are born, then born again, then restored again, and again to the greatness that they were born to after being deconstructed by this world and sin and family and friends?
It’s all good though because it’s all to make great men great.
And for what are these great men great?
They are great not for themselves but to reflect His greatness, to be examples of His greatness in the earth.
So don’t wonder how great men are made.
Just know, that they are born.