Happy Father’s Day!
“Today I wonder why it is God refers to Himself as ‘Father’ at all. This, to me, in light of the earthly representation of the role, seems a marketing mistake.” – Donald Miller
If you know my story, you know I had a religious upbringing surrounded by the talk of how much God loved me. I knew it intellectually, and I believed it. But something happened when I had kids. When I became a father, I got as close to experiencing God’s love from His point of view as I’ll ever get. In those moments, I understood why, even with all the baggage and issues attached to the word, ‘Father’, why He choose to be known by that name. I learned how God could love without any hope of getting anything in return, how He could forgive anything, and how He just wants to be with us.
I learned it by becoming a father myself.
Loving without any hope of getting anything in return
Holding my little baby in my arms was an incredible moment. They are so helpless, so vulnerable. For a very long time, everything my child ever had came from me. There was nothing my kids could offer me in return, and really, I didn’t want anything from them except to be with them.
For so long, I had tried to earn God’s love by following all the rules, and then feeling like a failure because I couldn’t follow them all. Yet my child never had to earn my love. I loved them simply because they were my child, and becoming a father made me realize that God loved me the same way.
I never understood God’s capacity to forgive until I had my kids. There is literally nothing they can do that I would not forgive. Nothing. Not even that.
This isn’t to say that we don’t have discipline. There are moments when I have to communicate to my kids that the way they are behaving will harm them, either in the immediate or in the future. They don’t like it when I discipline them, and frankly I’m not a great fan of it either. But it never comes to define the relationship because whatever was done will be forgiven. We will end the night, maybe with tears, but hugging each other, and I will remind them how much I love them.
Just Wanting Presence
I live for 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Those are the two hours when everyone in my house is awake and together. They are the best two hours of my day.
I never understood before why God would want to spend time with me. I’m messed up, and I screw up His plans all the time.
Yet, none of that stuff matters with my kids. I don’t care if they’re messed up, or if they’ve screwed up something. I just want to hear them call my name when I walk in the door, and hug them. Then I want to hear all about their day.
That’s all God’s wants — to hear us call His name and share our lives with Him.
God the Father
I don’t think I’m too off base here. Jesus even made a direct comparison between the earthy father and the Heavenly Father.
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! - Matthew 7:11 (parallel text in Luke 11:13)
Jesus isn’t being mean here, He is simply pointing out that earthly father’s operate out of their limited abilities and dysfunctions.
The Great Divorce
I never want to be seperated from my kids by divorce, but God is seperated from His kids by what C.S. Lewis called “The Great Divorce” between God and man.
When you really boil it down the message of Christianity is this:
God is a daddy in a heaven who just wants to be with his kids. But his kids have been separated from him by the Great Divorce. So he sends love letters (the Bible), and sends his Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to try to communicate to His kids that He loves them, that He wants to be with them, and that one day, soon, He will be with them.
Its really not anymore complicated than that.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net