Have you ever thought about why God would choose to refer to himself as our father? I think it’s because that relationship is one we all intuitively understand, whether we had a good father or not.
I did have a good father, although he recently passed away. Many were not so fortunate to have good earthly fathers. But just about all of us can picture in our minds the ideal of what it means to be a good father. Even if you didn’t have one, you know what you wanted—wished for—cried out for. A dad who was firm, but at the same time, gentle. Kind, but willing to tell us when we’re wrong. Willing to give advice, but not wanting to crush our spirit or lord his authority over us. One who would discipline, in love, when necessary, but remind us that his “anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime” (Psalm 30:5).
And this is the genius of God calling himself father. This powerful song about God’s role as father packs a lot of truth into five short short minutes.
If this is the first time you’ve heard the song, listen to it again. The love of our father above helps shape our identity. He wants to be known as kind. He’s willing to tell us when we’re wrong, gently giving advice without crushing our spirit. He is a good, good father, and for those who didn’t have an earthly one, he wants to be that.
This song tugs on my heart every time I hear it, but especially so this past Sunday, as it brought back thoughts of my dad. He wasn’t perfect, as our father in heaven is perfect. But no matter who your earthly father is, we can all dive deep into the love of our heavenly father.
Give him the benefit of the doubt when you don’t understand him. Sometimes our mistaken understandings of him can get us humans angry, or confused, or rebellious. But like Hosea, he’s there waiting to take us back, no matter how far we’ve strayed. Wouldn’t a good earthly father do that? And isn’t God the perfect pattern for earthly fathers, not the other way around?For anyone who’s separated from God, I pray you’ll seek him with all your heart. Read your Bible. Talk to people who love God, even if you don’t agree with them on everything. That’s OK. We all need to grow, and we grow most when we’re challenged.
Immerse yourself into God’s love. If you haven’t yet been baptized, do it. Start the journey. He’s a good, good Father, no matter what you may have thought about him yesterday. Call or email me if you’d like me to pray for you, or just to talk.