I’ve been discovering that one of the pleasures of fatherhood is watching to see what your children will do for their own home. Where will they settle? What kind of home will they choose? How will they furnish it?
Traveling anywhere with our family has always involved a running commentary about the houses we pass. “There’s a nice house!” “I hate that house.” “Cute house — lousy location.”
What’s emerging as great fun for me is to help the kids move, do little things to help them adapt the house to their needs, give them meaningful mementos to furnish or decorate their home as they see fit; and above all, join them for the creation of memories in their new abode.
It’s also fun for a father to notice the values which guide their children’s decisions. When I see my kids wait a bit longer to buy, or opt for a smaller, less extravant house than they can afford, or use the home to share guest quarters with friends and strangers … it fills me with the pleasure of kindred sentiments. “They’ve learned to be frugal, patient, and cautious.” “They’ve discovered what it means to entertain angels unawares”. When I see them excited about the proximity of a park, or a great climbing tree in the yard, it shows me they are valuing nature, and thinking of the enjoyment of the people who will share that lace with them.
Surely these are the kinds of thoughts God, the Father, entertains, as he enters into the joys of his children. So far, my children’s choices have been quite evidently guided by the Heavenly Father, as my kids and their spouses looked carefully, waited patiently, and sought God’s leading in prayer. By committing their way to His guidance, they entered into their eventual commitments with the full assurance that God was pleased, and had provided. Still, the choice was their’s — honored by God but not dictated by Him.
Looking forward, I can see another important reason why God is a happy God. At present, the housing arrangements of the vast majority of mankind are woefully inadequate. But God knows his plans, and knows that as surely as He is God, the time will come when all people will enjoy his handiwork. And they will augment it with handiwork of their own. “They will build houses, and dwell in them. They will not build and another inhabit; they will not plant, and another eat…. Before they call, I will answer, and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”