For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12
“We all need re-parenting,” said my college professor. He referred to the work God our Father is doing in each of us. This truth helps our persecuted brothers and sisters persevere through the darkness we consider unimaginable.
The Apostle Paul spoke of three tools a good father uses to help a child. Let’s see how these tools bolster a persecuted believer.
Encouraging: Like children, we are often tempted to give up. When that happens, the real need is for someone to come alongside who can identify with and encourage them to keep going. A Christian father is one who is always there to give an encouraging word when needed. And the need is often!
Comforting: This reference is to the kind of comfort that helps a child or another person carry a burden of grief or pain. Just by coming alongside in this concerned way, the burden is made lighter and the pain is lessened. We were not created to be alone, especially in grief. The Christian father and disciple maker is also always there for times of comfort giving.
Exhorting: This is the direction and assertiveness characteristic that should be evident in the father/disciple maker relationship. There are times when the father moves from the side to stand squarely in front and confront them with something that they need to face. The dangers in not exercising this responsibility are very great and should compel us to be diligent toward both our children and our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Fathers are in shortage in the persecuted church world. Many fathers have been imprisoned or martyred, or they are unbelievers who are the main persecutors of their own children who have become Jesus followers. Please pray for spiritual fathers to fill the gap and be tools in God the Father’s hands to encourage, comfort and exhort the children of God in time of need!
Kim Wenzel is a local Open Doors USA ministry representative who speaks in churches and groups about praying for the persecuted church. For more information, persons interested may contact Wenzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918-919-1490. He pastors Faith Church of Grove on East Highway 10.