Today, my eldest son, you reach
The end of twelve God-given years,
And I will stand today and preach
That God Almighty takes our fears.
At twelve I hope my son should know
That God omnipotent does reign,
And none can stay his plans; they go
Where he appoints and without strain.
Give ear, my son, to what I say
For God’s unending might and power
May lead us fiercely in the way
Of pain before our final hour.
Who knows but when some goodnight kiss
May be the last? Or whether for
The gospel God may order this:
A distant call, an open door,
And you obey, as I who stay,
And put ten thousand miles
Between yourself and me. I pray,
Dear son, ‘twill be with smiles.
For God Almighty rules the skies
And on the earth a feeble king
Struts out his power and tries to rise
In vain, while we break forth and sing.
Lord, teach my son to reverence you,
And that your recompense is sure
And that you are a refuge, too,
For every son whose way is pure.
Almighty God, help me to be
A godly father, firm and sweet,
That in the coming ages we
Might bow together at your feet.