O My Son, Would God I Had Died For Thee!

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Through the centuries of recorded history there are numerous examples in Holy Writ of the relationship between fathers and sons. One of the more moving accounts involves the relationship between King David and his son Absalom. I think what most impresses me about this story is the love that David has for his son, no matter that Absalom has conspired against him. Gordon B. Hinckley related:

“Absalom was the third son of David, a son favored and loved. David had given him a name which meant “father of peace.” But he brought not peace—rather, anger and ambition and sorrow. He killed his brother and conspired against his father. In the midst of his evil actions, in his wicked pursuit for his father’s throne, while riding a mule Absalom’s head caught in the branches of an oak tree, and he was left hanging helpless. Joab, nephew of David and captain of the king’s army, seizing the opportunity to get rid of this rebellious and traitorous son, pierced his heart with darts. He apparently felt he was doing a favor to the king.

But when David heard of his son’s death, even though that son had conspired to destroy him, “the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son! … [And] the king covered his face, and … cried.” (2 Sam. 18:33; 2 Sam. 19:4.) ( “What God Hath Joined Together,” Ensign, May 1991, 71).

To me the story of Absalom and David captures the true love that fathers should have for their sons. This immense feeling of grief from a father for his son, even one who rebelled against him, is one which is God-given.

The perfect model, of course, is our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Throughout the New Testament there is no question that Jesus is close to His father and desires to please Him.  The entire four gospels are a steady testimony of a perfect relationship developed between the Father and the Son.

I speak of these scriptures because they bring to surface the strong feelings I have for my four sons. The feelings of holding them for the first time in my arms is forever etched in my heart! The first time they took a step or spoke a word brought great joy to my heart. To me those feeling are God-given and are intended to invoke the noblest of feelings in our souls. I know they have for me!
So no matter if a son is of noble character and has chosen the right path, as did Christ, or has rebelled as did Absalom, the feelings of all noble fathers is still the same. You never give up and you never stop loving! It is the Godly pattern of Fatherhood that has been passed down from on high!

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