I encountered the following tweet over the weekend …
@kenblout “If a father does not go to church, no matter how faithful his wife’s devotions, only one child in 50 will become a regular worshipper.”
I found this statistic absolutely overwhelming … both logically and emotionally. You see I grew up in a home and family where my mother and my grandmother prayed for me and made sure I attended Sunday school and church right up into my high school years.
But despite my Dad’s faithfulness and love as a husband and a father (my folks just celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary!), he never attended church regularly with the family and he was never the spiritual leader of the family … despite the fact that our family is definitely patriarchal in nature.
So for me to find myself at 60 years old as a child of God and the spiritual leader (in training) of my family (wife, children and grandchildren) means I am that ‘one’ in fifty … or my God authored and ordained faith simply defies the odds.
As I shared this tweet with my small group on Monday, each man shook their head in agreement with the 1:50 odds like it is indeed a well known statistic. As I then shared my childhood experience in church I was absolutely overwhelmed with emotion … and by the love of God that has made me joint heirs with Christ in the kingdom of heaven.
Suddenly I am struck by the reality that the odds reveal I should actually be condemned and perishing … and up into my mid-40’s that seemed to be the death course I was committed to.
But I was not created by a God limited by the odds … I was created by a loving God who is constantly defying the odds.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (ESV)
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:24-26 (ESV)
With God ALL things are possible … and our hopeful longing should never diminish despite the odds or despite the years … God can save any person at any time … and the greater a man’s odds are against the realization of salvation … well, a loving God is constantly defying the odds.
That said … as a father it is not in my children’s best interest to do things that stack the odds against their reconciliation with God … when instead my love, obedience and worship can stack the odds in their favor … no guarantee, just improved odds.
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face. You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today. Deuteronomy 7:9-11 (ESV)
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)
Oh Father, I am so overwhelmed by your love and faithfulness in my salvation and in my battle with cancer … the odds are absolutely no match for You!
Help me to be the husband, father and grandfather that You desire and that my wife, children and grandchildren need!