Patēr. Father. Parent. Forefather. Abba.
Whatever word you use, the image that comes to mind is largely dependent on your memory. For some, it is a memory of a loving parent. A caring man who provided all the family needed and still made time to play, teach and have fun with you during your childhood. For others, it is a memory of a drunken tyrant, a manipulative bully or a distant authority figure. For others, there is no memory at all. Neglect, abandonment or simple circumstance meant they grew up entirely without a male parent. For most, it is a very complex mix of good and not-so-good. But at the word “father”, how they (or the lack of them) made you feel comes rushing back.
There are not a lot of truly positive father figures in the Bible. They had flaws. Many seem conspicuously absent from their progeny – their children are mentioned almost as a side note, not a highlight. Not a few male Bible characters would be charged with neglect or child abuse if they lived in our time and space. But such things only go to stand in contrast with who God reveals Himself to be.
God is our Father. Not just our creator, though He is that. Not just our King, though He is that too. Not just our healer, though He is that also. Not just our provider, though He is very much that. God is our Father. He is always available, always forgiving when we admit our fault, always gracious. Even when we are not. He is present no matter where we go. He is powerful, no matter what obstacle we face. He is peaceful and loving and kind. These are the character traits that Father wants us to know Him for. He reveals all this and more about Himself in the Scripture, and then sends us both Jesus and the Holy Spirit to affirm and confirm that He is, and that He is Father.
Everyone can read that in the pages of Scripture. Yet there is not a man, woman or child on this earth who doesn’t find the personal discovery of God as their Father to be as profound as anything they could ever discover. It is not a secret – for here it is in the most popular prayer in the history of the world. Yet it is a secret. It is the greatest OF secrets – and always will be – until you discover Him as Father for yourself.
It is as profound as finding out that God is 0- that God exists. As profound as realizing that God cares. As profound as hearing Him speak. As profound as recognizing that He is actively doing something, and made you specifically to come alongside Him in what He is doing. It is the most profound thing any human being could ever grasp. Such things are beyond words. God Most High – God who was, and is, and will be, wants you to know Him as your Father. Not like your earthly father, who was limited and faulty. But as your heavenly Father, unlimited and perfect.
If you haven’t done that, rest assured. He is waiting for you to discover that for yourself. Go meet Him. He’s our Father. He always has time for us, for speaking to His children.
Why, He’s waiting for you right now. Amen.
If your experience with your earthly father has been unpleasant, you may need to reverse your thinking. Rather than trying to fit God into your image of what a father is like, realize that God is the pattern for earthly fathers to follow. God loves his children perfectly. He’s never too busy or too preoccupied or too self-centered to care about you.Henry & Richard Blackaby
Spend some time meditating on who God reveals Himself to be. You will be thankful.