The word “father” evokes strong emotions in many people. At just the very word, some may feel love, support and acceptance, while others feel abandonment, anger, deep sadness and longing. Others may even feel nothing, a deep-seeded apathy that has been a way to cope through disappointment and disillusionment. I have been blessed with a father who is godly, faithful, wise, supportive and loving. Praise God for the fathers out there who consistently give their children the gift of their presence. Fathers, this is often a thankless society, degrading of fatherhood and manhood in general, but please don’t give up! We need you more than we probably even know.
Whatever our earthly experience with fathers may be, it is a comfort to know that there is a Father who will never fail us. In the Old Testament, we see hints of God’s Fatherhood in that He creates, guides, disciplines, defends and saves His children. “Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isa. 64:8, NIV). In the New Testament, God’s Fatherhood is even more explicitly stated. Jesus’ favorite term for God was “Father.” He sometimes even used the intimate word Ἀββᾶ (Abba), an Aramaic term that is warm and endearing, an almost baby-like term. That relationship isn’t exclusive to the Son of God and His Father, but God is our Father, as Jesus said in Matt. 6:9. As a Father, God gives good gifts (Matt. 7:11), He disciplines because He loves (Heb. 12:6), He is compassionate and comforting (2 Cor. 1:3), He is glorious and holy (Eph. 1:17), He is constant and unchanging (Jas. 1:17).
God wants us to encounter Him as our Father. I remember an experience I had in Mozambique, Africa a few years ago. I was attending a two-month long mission school and during a time of worship one day, I glanced over at an interaction a father was having with his baby. The little boy was sitting at his father’s feet, extending his arms, and the father was holding a water bottle and letting some drops trickle into the baby’s mouth. A simple scene, but God spoke to me in that moment and said, “That baby is you, Nicole, and the father is Me. I want you to always realize your dependence on Me, even for something as simple as a drop of water.”
Putting our trust in God as our Father is the best decision we can make. He knows best how to care for us, guide our steps, and correct us when we need it! This Father’s Day, we honor and thank our earthly fathers, and we express our thanks to our heavenly Father who has been so gracious to us. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1a).