Before he was King in Israel, David was strengthened, encouraged, enabled, and ultimately enthroned when strong men assembled around him. 1 Chronicles 12:38: “All these men of war arrayed in battle order came to Hebron with full intent to make David King over Israel.” These men were instrumental in putting God’s anointed man where he belonged.
I’m not trying to be King of Israel. But in my life, I’ve got “Amalekites” to slay. Without strong men arrayed around me I wouldn’t have a prayer of achieving God’s plan for me. Let me tell you about four of those men.
My father, Ron Ames. A day never passes where I don’t think of the model of fatherhood he set before me. His has been an active engagement, whether from near or faraway physically, for all 48 of my years. I can feel his prayers sometimes washing over me. I can hear his voice guiding me when I have questions. On the rare occasions when we actually are together, it’s as natural and enjoyable as the day decades ago when I left home as a young man.
My step-father, Kent Brown. I have learned so many things from this man, who has served as a second father since I was a young teen. Back then, he was my skiing partner; for a while, he was my golfing partner; now he’s my hunting partner, and I look forward to that week we spend together every year in Missouri’s woods like few other annual events. I’m lucky to have had two models for fatherhood in my life.
My father-in-law, Denton Hanford. First, for raising my bride Natalie — no man could ask for a partner in life whose values had been so well shaped in girlhood as Natalie’s were by her Dad. I know he was and is a dynamite father to her, and for the past 26 years it’s been my honor to call myself his son. Not just a great model as a father, he’s also served as a frequent confidant and mentor in my professional career. Paths he’s walked I didn’t know how, until I asked him.
My son, Douglas Ames. This is his first Father’s Day. He makes me think of myself when he or his sister were a year old. He makes me remember what it was like to be a new Daddy. How exciting and frightening and rewarding: how my heart filled with awe whenever I held my year-old children. I see that as he lifts my granddaughter into the air — the joy in his eyes. He reminds me that I am very young, still, inside. And that will be a good thing when my two new Haitian sons come to live with us later this year.
All four of them are mighty men of God. I could count on any of them for anything, but mostly to stand alongside me in patience and fierce love to help sharpen me into the man I’m supposed to be. From the depths of my heart I’m grateful, and I wish them Happy Father’s Day.