Hubs reminded me of a funny story when Bug was just a baby – maybe a year old, tops.
We were giving him a bath, and as we were finishing up, I was trying to hustle Bug out of the tub and into the warm, dry towel I was (impatiently) holding up (and, more importantly, into bed so we could have grown-up time). But of course, the bath toys and bubbles and twister of water gurgling down the drain proved far too enticing, so his little prune-y bottom stayed planted.
In stepped Father of the Year.
“Bug,” Hubs had said seriously. “If you don’t get out of the tub, you’ll go down the drain with the water.”
Despite all logic, even baby logic (no, you can’t force the square block into the circular hole, no matter how hard you try), Bug shot out of the tub like his butt was on fire, his expression priceless. And it took him a few good months to finally understand that he will not go down the drain just because Dad said so.
To my brilliant, skeptical, adult mind, as we were recounting this hilarious (at the time, anyway) story, I just shook my head and wondered, how in the world could Bug swallow something like that whole?
Not because he wasn’t smart enough.
Not because he was naive in all his childlike innocence.
Not because he hadn’t yet learned the art of sarcasm.
But because his father, his dad, told him so. The man Bug inherently trusted, from the first sound of his voice through the thin skin of my belly, to the warm embraces and tickle fights and wrestling matches and words of wisdom – this man told him so. (Despite what it looks like, this blog is not intended to make Hubs feel like grub for telling his firstborn an obvious lie just to get him out of the bathtub in a timely manner…)
My husband, in all his glorious misguidance and overall flawed human nature, is the man my son trusts intimately and unquestionably (even though his five-year-old wit is sharpening that skepticism…), which allows us to teach him, train him, and grow him in a way that we think is right and pleasing to the Lord.
Bug faithfully and purposefully accepts his father’s words and deeds and instruction. (Whether or not he actually heeds said words and deeds and instruction is subject to change on an hourly basis.) And despite my husband’s flaws and inevitable downfalls (he is human, after all), Bug knows, without a doubt, that his father’s guidance is rooted in profound love, wavering wisdom, imperfect expectations, and an overall desire to see Bug reach new heights, achieve grand goals, and live a life worthy of the cross.
My husband – one of the best men I know and yet still, while on this side of Heaven, stained with the consequence of sin and human nature – is able to cultivate and nurture a relationship with his son that is founded on that knowledge, that faith, that Bug knows, however subconsciously, his father will not steer him wrong.
I have been able to witness the dynamics of a father-son relationship (more importantly, parent-child relationship) that, despite its imperfections, is a glimpse of the relationship God, our Father, is yearning for from us, His children.
Our God is perfect, His plans are grander, His love is deeper, His heartbreak more tragic, His ability more solid, His presence more permanent…if my five-year-old can faithfully trust the word of a man I’ve seen to be inconsistent and temperamental, why is it so difficult for me to faithfully trust the Word of a God I know to be absolutely consistent in His glorious and creative perfection?