And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?" - Genesis 3:8-9 ESV
Growing up, one of my favorite games was hide and go seek. I would play anywhere and anytime. My cousins would play in the house when they came over. Our games were so spirited that our parents would send us outside. We would then continue our game there.
Our ability to conceal ourselves during a game of hide and go seek was a great asset to have to when we were children, but not as adult men.
Men, where are we? Why are we absent from our children’s and spouses’ lives? I know there are a good number of you reading this that are active participants in the lives of your families. If you are in that number, I applaud you.
A good number of us are not present in our family’s lives. We are playing an excellent game of hide and seek.
Look at the numbers:
An estimated 24.7 million children (33%) live absent their biological father.
With the increasing number of premarital births and a continuing high divorce rate, the proportion of children living with just one parent rose from 9.1% in 1960 to 20.7% in 2012. Currently, 55.1% of all black children, 31.1% of all Hispanic children, and 20.7% of all white children are living in single-parent homes. (1)
There are millions more fathers that are physically present, but are emotionally absent. They are just going through the motions, drifting through life.
If the game of hide and seek that we are playing as men could be classified as a disease, it would be treated as an epidemic.
I can speak from personal experience of the effect that being absent has on a child. I went through a divorce and lost contact with my daughter. I wasn’t there for important events in her life. Thank God, I was able to reconnect with her and am now a part of her life (I can do even more).
Gentlemen, that the key. If you are not present in someone’s life, it doesn’t have to be a permanent situation. You have the power to change it. Your families NEED YOU! They need the guidance that a man can provide. They need to see you living out the example of what’s it like to be a godly man.
More importantly, our families need to see what life is like when you are living with passion and purpose and doing the things that God created you to do. This is what I call “generational living.” You are provided an example to be passed down to the next generation.
Look at the today’s scripture. All of us know the backdrop of why Adam and Eve were hiding from God. The more important thing is when God came into the garden, He didn’t ask where Eve was. He specifically called for the man.
The reason being is twofold. One, He created us men to lead our families and asking where Adam was (of course God knew) is His way of reminding him of his responsibility as a leader. Secondly, this was God’s way of letting Adam know that He was seeking after him.
Despite Adam’s transgressions, God was still seeking him! Men, in that same way, we have an opportunity to return and make things right in our lives when we’ve gone astray.
My question for you is when God calls for us, how will we respond? Will you stop hiding and honestly answer Him? Will you realize that a change is required and take advantage of the opportunity? My prayer for all of you is that the answer is yes.
(1) Source: U.S. Census Bureau. “Living Arrangements of Children Under 18 Years Old: 1960 to Present”. U.S. Census Bureau July 1, 2012
Ken Sadler is a leader of Men's Ministry at a megachurch and has a heart and passion for helping men become the best they can be.