There are three things I typically mention in my prayers each day when I sit down to have my quiet time with the Lord. Always pausing to make sure that the words are true and sincere, and not part of a checklist, I’ll ask God to make me the man, the husband and the father He wants me to be. When my wife and I pray over our kids, we pray that our kids know that the way we look at our kids pales in comparison to the way God looks at us and others. I want to live in the reality of that truth — God loves us so much.
As a dad, I often get so wrapped up in making sure everyone else is doing well and where they need to be, but lately I’ve had a few moments with God where He makes it clear how He feels about me. Instead of allowing Him to work through me to love on other people, it’s easy to focus on how I think I should love others. But what if my focus was simply on how God loves me, and I let that in turn change my heart and mind to such an extent that I treat people the same way He loves me? There’s a forced humility in such an attitude. You first have to come to Christ and acknowledge you are flawed, in need of His help, and unable to love others the way He wants you to all by yourself.
When I started out in my faith journey, I never fully understood what people meant by “maturing in your faith.” It has nothing to do with age; it’s measured by the time you spend with the Lord and the things you’ve experienced in life with Him. I never realized how much God carries you and how much I could trust Him until those moments of trials and tribulations occurred and He was there. You have to go through those things before you can look back and see that He was there. At the same time, we can’t get through those moments without the Lord.
The process of maturing in Christ never stops. You go through different things and look back to see how much heartache you experienced, or how much joy you thought you’d have but didn’t from something. I often think, “I was wrong here; I was wrong there.” But in doing so, I can see how God molds me along the way.
Maturity in your faith brings about more and more awareness of the truth that there is joy in suffering. We can rejoice because we know that suffering will result in perseverance. The more you trust God, the more you learn you really can trust God. My wife and I have often witnessed something that’s happening in the world and stopped to have a moment of thankfulness for the faith God’s given us; we know we’re never alone. My faith has changed throughout the years that I’ve spent with Christ. I’m still learning, and it’s a trial by fire. I get it wrong a lot, but once in a while I trust Him the right way.
Recently, my family and I were in Utah for a wedding. My 2-year-old daughter saw some rocks she wanted to climb up so she and I started hiking. When we got to the top of the mountain, we looked around at a beautiful 360-degree view. I looked at my daughter and said, “Harper, you know what? God made all of these big mountains and God made you! God loves you even more than Mommy and Daddy do. As much as we love you, He loves you even more. He will never fail you.” I want my kids to view God as someone to have a relationship of love and trust with.
There are a lot of things we don’t have control over in our life, but we do have control over the time we spend with the Lord. So for my kids, I want to keep planting those seeds.
— Tress Way, Washington punter
Tress Way is a regular contributor to The Increase and provides monthly articles and opinions. Check out Tress’s Increase profile here.
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