A Father’s Love
One of the more intriguing class assignments I had in my graduate counseling program was to write a paper on how my relationship with my earthly father had influenced and affected my view of my Heavenly Father. Before writing that paper, I had never taken the time to think of how much my relationship with my Dad had directly shaped some of my thoughts and beliefs about God.
When we think of God as our Father, whether we like it or not, much of what comes to our minds is greatly related to what we have experienced with our earthly father. Given the reality of the variety of experiences we have had with our earthly fathers and the fact there is no perfect Dad, it’s safe to say that all of us struggle with fully comprehending and authentically relating to God our Father.
Scripture invites us to relate to God as “Abba Father” (Romans 8:15), a very intimate, honest and close way of addressing our Heavenly Father that parallels how Jesus spoke with God in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:36). If we are to get to that level of relationship with God, it requires us to move beyond some of our limiting and even less accurate views of God that we have formed and embrace our Heavenly Father for who He really is and how He truly relates to us.
The Bible gives us so many great descriptions of the nature of God and His loving actions. A good starting point is to read Psalm 139 and spend some time reflecting on the following ways that God relates to us as a good and loving Father. In fact, as David did in this great Psalm, personalize the words as you ponder the wonderful ways God relates to you.
God Knows Me (verses 1-6). The great and massive God of the Universe is intimately acquainted with me. He takes the time to notice me, to understand me, pay attention to me. He knows what I am going to say even before I form the words to speak. God sees all the good and bad in me, yet He still loves me, cares for me, values me, forgives me and fully accepts me because of the loving sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.
God is There for Me (verses 7-12). My Heavenly Father is always there for me – no matter where I go or what I do. God is fully present with me; relationally, emotionally, spiritually. He will never leave me, He won’t abandon me, He won’t forsake me. He walks beside me through all the peaks and valleys of life.
God Made Me (verses 13-16). With great skill and careful detail, God formed and fashioned me. I am a unique and distinct person of tremendous worth and value who has been created in the very image and likeness of my Heavenly Father! God does great works – including creating me.
God Thinks Highly of Me (verses 17-18). My God is thinking about me! Even as I go through my day and night, my Father is thinking about me. His thoughts towards me are so numerous that they outnumber all the grains of sand on the seashore. I am constantly on God’s mind.
We have an awesome, wonderful and loving heavenly Father who desires an intimate relationship with us. J.I. Packer, in his classic book Knowing God, simply puts it this way: “To know God as our Father – our almighty loving Father – is the highest, richest and most rewarding aspect of our whole relationship with Him.”