Learning to View God as Our Father
By Erica Hunt
Track was not my dream. I wasn't keen on the idea of running. I did it because my dad was so excited for me, and I wanted to please him. But, at the finish line of my very first race my freshman year, I badly rolled my ankle. I felt so guilty. I knew my dad had taken time off work and was on his way, driving miles to watch me run. He had probably missed the race and now, my swollen ankle had made the trip worthless. I tearfully apologized to my dad. But he was not disappointed in me. My ill-timed injury did not change his love for me or the fact that I was his daughter. That's the love of a father.
Everyone has an innate longing to be loved, acknowledged, and approved by their father. This is true even when our father may not be loveable or admirable, or someone we even know.
Our perception of God often comes from the way our earthly fathers treat us. And unfortunately, even the best fathers are not perfect.
God’s character, however, does not reflect our earthly father. God is the perfect Father because He is holy, and all His motives are pure. He desires what is best for His children. He hears and understands our needs, desires, and longings. He loves us and wants to be near us. He delights in His children, and He longs for us to return this love!
God is the perfect Father and Jesus is our example of the perfect Son. He was completely obedient to the will of His Father. We are not yet perfect and will fail as we endeavor to follow Christ’s obedient example, but just as a good earthly father will teach and discipline his children so will our heavenly Father.
Even though God is a perfect Father, obedience to him and his Word is a struggle for his children because of the destructive sinful nature of man’s hearts. God knows that living in complete obedience to Him, as Jesus did, is impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit.
While in our own strength God’s children struggle to obey, we are not left helpless. God gladly helps those who genuinely desire to obey Him. He does not frown in disapproval and shake His head. He is our Creator and He knows what He created us to be! He wants his children to fulfill the purposes and works that He created them to do.
We participate in God's sanctifying work through building our relationship with Jesus and walking in repentance. Rooting our relationship in God’s word takes sacrifice and commitment, but if we continue to work at it, his commands become a joy and a delight that will grow and bring pleasure to our Father. But when we are tempted to disregard his Word and live our own way, we must be willing and ready to repent of our wrong. Repentance is confessing our sin and then resolving to turn from it and walk in obedience to God. And, because He is our Father, He is ready and willing to welcome us home, pick us up and help us continue on our way.
Even if the thought of thinking of God as a Father is painful, it is still true. The good news is that your failings and shortcomings cannot change the fact that God is your good, patient, and loving Father eagerly helping us to know and follow Him.
- Examine the relationship you have with your earthy father. How has it impacted your relationship with your Heavenly Father?
- Book Recommendation: The Father’s Heart: His Delight, Your Destiny by Dave Carroll
Lives with her husband, Justin, in South Dakota. She teaches middle school and loves traveling, collecting quotes, learning fun facts and historical information, drinking coffee, eating ice cream, and enjoying good conversations with friends.