The Heart of the Father

We can trust that God is our Father. But what does that mean? He is not our benign and slightly senile grandfather who gives us candy on the side. Unfortunately that is precisely what our fallen human nature craves for. But God is a Father. In fact all fatherhood, or at least any worthy of the name is derived from the fatherhood of God (see Eph 3:15). But what does that fatherhood look like? One of the most important desires of God (as Father) is to help His children realize and become all we were created to be and He will do everything to bring that about. He is not the God of the half-measure. He wants us to come to the fullness of who we are. Therefore He really does aim at our perfection and will accept nothing less. He wants us to become like unto His Son, Jesus Christ. Therefore, He never can indulge us; He wants what is best for us. We so often want just to get to a point of comfort or ease; we want our present pain taken away but then want Him to leave things at that point. God has a much longer view of things. He wants us to be fit for heaven. All sin must go! Hebrews 12:7 says that “It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?”
Therefore, once we have yielded our lives to Him, He begins to deal with every aspect of our lives, bringing all of them under the Lordship of Christ. This is a life-long process which He carefully crafts to suit each individual. Often we will want to cry out “Stop,” but God, as a good physician, knows when and where to apply the scalpel to effect healing. Healing is not easy nor it is painless, but it alone is liberating. As human fathers we need first to accept God’s fathering of us. Then we need to extend that same fathering to our children, going beyond mere sentimentality or egoism, and seeking what is best for our children. This will often mean we have to stop putting the focus on ourselves. We will need to ‘get over ourselves’ and being caught up with our own egos and go beyond ourselves, makes sacrifices, and laying down our life concretely for our child. It will mean thinking in terms of the final destiny of that child and doing what is possible to help bring that about (at least concerning what lays in our ability to affect). We must no longer absent ourselves from the struggle or put the responsibility off onto someone else. To be a father means first knowing the love of God the Father and then reflecting that fathering for our children, being an instrument for the redeeming love of God which desires the eternal life of His children. (Thanks to C S Lewis for many of the thoughts and images expressed above.)

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