By Bradford Smith
Missions Pastor, The Way, Clarksville
This is a letter to prospective fathers of an unwanted child.
Twenty years ago I was willing to pay my girlfriend to murder our unborn daughter. This haunts me. I’ve been there. I’ve been in your shoes. I still remember the phone call, how my heart climbed up out of my throat when I heard her tears, how time screeched to a halt as she quietly uttered those two mortifying words, “I’m pregnant.”
You’re scared. I understand and in all reality, you should be. Having a child is a game-changer. I was terrified. This kind of thing certainly never happened in my family. What would my parents say?
You’re trapped. This wasn’t planned. Again, I’m with you. I was young and single, a newly-minted Army officer with my entire life ahead of me. The last thing I wanted was fatherhood. My freedom was at stake, the very essence of me.
Maybe you’re angry. This wasn’t supposed to happen. You don’t need this. Maybe you blame her. Believe me, I’ve been there. I understand but let me assure you of some truth I’ve since come to know.
Planned or not, your wife/girlfriend/baby mama is now the steward of life and your child is forged in the very image of God, crafted by the hand of the Almighty, singularly unique and special (Genesis 1:26, 27). God knew this child before He formed him or her (Jeremiah 1:5). This child is fearfully and wonderfully made, knit together in the mother’s womb (Psalm 138:13-15).
And this was no accident. Perhaps you were not planning this but rest assured, God is not caught off-guard. There are no accidents, no surprises, no incidental events. All things serve His perfect will. All things have been ordained and declared from eternity past. All things work together for the good of those who love God. Your child is not an accident. This pregnancy was planned and ordained by the very God of the universe (Psalm 115:3, Psalm 135:6, Isaiah 46:10, Romans 8:28).
And this child needs you. Many single mothers valiantly strive to raise their children absent a father but they struggle and the children struggle, greatly. It is a fact that children desperately need a mother and a father. The fate of this unborn life rests upon your shoulders. And she needs you. Perhaps you two are no longer romantically attached but as scared as you are, it pales in comparison to her fear. Maybe she contemplates the unthinkable out of fear, expecting you to walk at any time, as soon as things get rough.
Let’s flip the script. Cast aside your fear and self-centered concerns and consider that God is calling you to father, a most sacred and holy call. God has found you worthy of fatherhood. Allow me to leave you with an exhortation from Scripture. Be strong. Be courageous. Act like a man (I Samuel 4:9, I Corinthians 16:13).
I’ve become many things in this life but I cherish being a father. I relish it. Before I was but a shadow of a man. Few things warm my soul and bolster my spirit like the strong love of my children. It’s unfathomable that I almost cut that off before it even began.
I’m thankful for my wife for many different reasons. She is so strong where I have been so weak and 20 years ago she pondered life as a single mother and said “no” to the abortion that I practically demanded. She saw this unborn life for what it was, precious and intrinsically valuable, and she said “no” and for that I will forever remain in her debt.
She even offered me the chance to walk. I contemplated on the phone as her offer hung there, awaiting a response, and I got angry. I got angry and for perhaps the first time in my life, I acted like a man. I was not going to allow my daughter to grow up without me. I was not going to walk away from my responsibility.
No, I was going to be the father that the Lord I had yet to meet had already called me to be. She is beautiful and loving, a daughter of the King, and along with my other children, the greatest blessing I’ve known.
My prayer is that you might be similarly blessed.