A POWERFUL FATHERING STORY
Today, I would like to share with you a wonderful true story of a father and his son. The father who wrote this is one of my very first supporters and has been reading my weekly Thoughts Provoking articles since they first came out, almost 4 years ago. It is a powerful story that also illustrates his application of so many of the truths, wisdom, and insights I have written about to you Fathers. I have been praying for this father and his family every single day for almost 4 years.
It was an incredible encouragement to my soul to receive this and it thrilled my heart to see this father’s love for his son, and this little boy’s incredible victory and progress.
Thank you, Gunnar and Axel for letting me share your story!
I trust it greatly encourages and inspires you ever onward, in your most important life mission! Fathering your children and raising them for Christ!
Never give up, Dads!
Praying and working for your success,
Pastor Mark Darling
The last couple years we’ve really started to see a transition with our kids… each of these little ones is growing into a young adult, with their own expectations, hang-ups, hurts, sins. Parenting becomes more nuanced as you have to coach and discern (with the Spirit’s help) when you have to push your will through vs. bend, flex, pause. And yes, every course requires humility / mercy / compassion as you’ve stated.
I’d like to share a brief anecdote with you about my son. He is 10 years old… but has had unique and challenging health problems. Certain symptoms are things like not being able to tell when he’s hot and cold. And several others that are quite difficult.
I’ve been pouring my heart out to God about this in earnest for about 18 months. One of the things I kept feeling the Spirit say is, “There’s more going on here than you understand, Gunnar.” Nonetheless, aside from prayer, we’ve been pursuing a form of physical therapy called infant reflexology, where you retrain the brain. (he had a pretty traumatic birth which likely caused this.)
Now, this summer I was going to do a 5K mud run with my brother. Axel (my son) was interested in doing this… I was hesitant as this was intended as a way to care for my non christian brother and spend time with him. But God said, let him run with you. So I told Axel, “OK, you can run the 5K, but you have to keep up. Which means every Monday/Wednesday/Friday at 5:45AM you have to set your alarm, get up, and run.”
I didn’t really think he’d stick with it, but he did. He looked forward to it, and his emotional disposition improved every day he went running. You see, Axel is pretty uncoordinated and struggles with team sports. But with running, he was getting victory. It was a physical victory but more importantly, a spiritual victory over the power of the devil who accuses and tears us down. Within a few weeks I started to understand something significant was happening. I’ve read John Eldredge before and thought… man I’m just not a man like that, I need to do more to lead my boy on this great adventure of life. The spirit was speaking to me too… “Gunnar, praise, serve and lead where you are.” So, God was doing something, in both of us.
Fast forward, we ran the 5K mud run on June 25. He loved it, he did great. We ended up spending the day with my brother and his girlfriend. We were at a kids fun center, and Axel got hit hard in the head by another kid by accident. He was complaining of a bad headache and later that night it got worse and he started throwing up, so we suspected a minor concussion. I was driving in the rain to find a pharmacy in a city I didn’t really know. Anyway, I got back to my Air-BNB (we were playing games that evening), and I got the medicine for Axel which I gave him. Then he looks at me with tears in his eyes and says, “Dad will you pray for me?” So I get on the carpet, and start praying over him, right in front of my non christian brother and his girlfriend. (I’m a pretty gentle person and don’t tend to impose my faith on people.)
We finish the prayer, he puts his head up, and says, “Dad the pain is gone.”
It’s been a few weeks since that trip, we’re still running, his spiritual disposition is SO MUCH BETTER, we’re talking about the Bible regularly and about God. He’s interested in creation science. He’s treating his siblings better and listening better. You see, God broke through a stronghold in his heart that day. He needed a victory (the run) and he needed his faith restored… the joy of his salvation. The answered prayer and the faith that God could heal him. Axel’s faith, not mine, made him well. And his most difficult personal health issue is almost completely gone. It is remarkable!
The answered prayer didn’t seem to phase my brother or his girlfriend (I was hoping, it didn’t seem to, but who knows??), but I also know that the entire trip and everything that happened was for Axel’s heart. God is on mission for our kids just as sure as he’s on mission for the nations.
Anyway… thanks for your continued encouragement and sorry that that story took a bit to unfold, but I thought it might encourage you to hear of a small victory in the world, but a big victory for a little boy. =)
In closing I want to say, Great job fathering your son, Gunnar! WAY TO GO AXEL! WHAT A GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT.
Helping you become a Strong Disciple,
Because of Jesus,
Pastor Mark Darling