This is part 2 of the series “God’s love is the Greatest Love.” For the previous post, click here.
One of the greatest tragedies for a young child is to grow up without a good father. For one thing, fathers provide protection, establish balance, and are often essential to a child’s understanding of how men and women should behave toward one another.
Fathers are a vital part of the family unit.
In ages past, fathers often treated their children as though they ought to be seen and not heard, rarely showing affection and often remaining aloof. This explains why many of the old preachers and pastors framed God as wrathful and distant. In our current culture, many hear “God is our Father” and do not believe He actually exists or cares because their own fathers are likewise absent or uncaring.
How we view earthly fathers directly affects how we relate to our Heavenly Father.
God’s relationship with us as a father is a beautiful gift. If you have been blessed to have a loving earthly father, this will be an easier concept to grasp. If you have not had a good father, I hope to shed some small light on the matchless blessing of this relationship.
God is Constant.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
~ James 1.17, NKJV
Children crave stability. Having a mercurial parent—unpredictable in behavior and discipline—creates anxiety in the heart of a child.
Our Heavenly Father does not change. He is not like the mythological gods of the Romans and Greeks—selfish, lustful, and vain. God is consistent in both justice and mercy, unchanging since before the beginning of time.
The Old Testament provides countless examples of God making promises and fulfilling them. God promised never to destroy the earth by flood again. To this day, we have not seen a flood of that magnitude. God promised Abraham a son, a nation, and a legacy. All those promises were fulfilled. God promised to give Gideon success against the Midianites and He did.
We can rely on God to say what He means and mean what He says. He is trustworthy.
Draw comfort in knowing you are loved by someone who will not grow old nor be drawn away from you. God is more constant than death and taxes. His love does not lose it’s potency with time. You can rest in His unchanging nature.
God provides for our needs—and more.
What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
~ Luke 11.11-13, ESV
If we bring our needs before God, He hears our prayers. God may not always give us what we want, but He always gives us what we need.
When my children say, “I’m hungry,” they may be hoping for pizza, ice cream, cookies, or some other treat. More often than not, I give them chicken, apples, bananas, carrots, yogurt, soup, eggs, or something wholesome. It may not be what they want, but I know this is what their body actually needs. There are also times when I tell them to wait for the next meal. I know they need to hold off on eating so they will fill up on a nutrient-dense meal instead of snacks. Of course, there are times they get dessert—far more than what they need, but something special!
Our Heavenly Father behaves in similar fashion. Sometimes He gives us what we need and we think He’s being cruel; other times He makes us wait and we accuse Him of ignoring us.
If you really consider all that you currently possess, can you honestly say God cares nothing for you?
Do you have…
- A roof over your head?
- Shoes on your feet?
- Clothes on your back?
- Food to eat (and treat)?
- A church family to worship with?
- A bible to reveal God’s word to you?
- A friend or two?
- A few bucks in the bank?
These things cover your needs and more. If you are a Christian, God has given you the greatest blessing of all—peace with Him, the promise of eternal life, and the Holy Spirit. How can we say He hasn’t given us all we need and more??
God listens to our prayers. He is, in fact, the best listener of all. Like a good father, He hears what we ask for and is often working behind the scenes to bring our requests to fruition in the most beneficial way.
God demonstrates His fatherly love for us by providing abundantly above all we ask or imagine.
God disciplines us for our good.
Have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
~ Hebrews 12.5-8, ESV
Nobody likes correction. My kids certainly don’t—I’ve never seen them take punishment with a smile.
However, consistent discipline and firm boundaries are indispensable to a child’s development. Children draw a sense of subconscious safety in knowing their parents’ expectations. Our Heavenly Father sets boundaries for us and does indeed send correction our way. He doesn’t discipline us in anger. His discipline is perfect, carefully designed to make us better.
The Hebrew writer continues the above passage:
Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
~ Hebrews 12.9-11, ESV
Our Heavenly Father disciplines us with loving purpose, to protect us from falling away. We are blessed to be loved so perfectly! We are adopted as children by God. He wants us to be part of His family, enjoying the comfort of His presence and an inheritance incorruptible.
I can think of no greater gift than to have the Fatherly love of God. His love surpasses the love of any earthly father.
If you have become a Christian, you are a child of God, the perfect father. He will not abandon or abuse, manipulate or misuse. My dear friend, rest in His love. Cast all your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you. He is not like anyone you have ever known.