A Father’s love
It has always been a special thing for me to watch a daddy with his child; nothing sweeter than to see a big strapping man being tender with his little one. Maybe it’s the contrast of muscle and brawn mixed with little fingers and toes. You know without a shadow of a doubt that the same hands that are cradling that little head would protect that child to the death of the one who might bring it harm. Maybe it’s the fact that a lot of men don’t let themselves appear vulnerable, but with their babies, they just turn into a big puddle of goo. I always savored moments with my dad; I have fond memories of him and I walking to the store when I was 6 years old, and him holding my hand the whole way. Or times when he would take us kids to the playground or the zoo or the small amusement park that used to be on Staten Island, and times when he would read me stories or play monopoly on the floor with us. I used to think it was tough being a preacher’s kid (and it was, at times), but I’ve since met others with different experiences than mine to the point where I can better appreciate my father’s love for us.
There is another to whom I address as Father; and it’s my relationship with Him that is the basis of this blog post. It occurred to me recently, as I watched a friend and the gentleness he exhibited with his grandson—that’s God and me. Just like an earthly dad cradles his baby, gently strokes his back or kisses the top of his head or even, just stares at him in love—that is God the Father’s reaction to His children. Honestly it’s hard to wrap my head around the idea; but if He is my Father, than of course, He is better than any earthly father could ever be. And since God is Love—He is more loving than any human father is capable of being.
Can you imagine being cradled in God’s arms as He looks on you with love? Can you imagine Him kissing the top of your head or smiling at you? It’s almost too marvelous to contemplate.
For the longest time my “picture” of God was a stern man standing a few feet away, His arms folded in front of His chest and a scowl on His face—I felt like He was displeased with me, impatient for me to hurry up and mature; and only put up with me because I’d gotten saved. I’m not sure where I got this image from—but it’s dead wrong!
This Father loved me so much He sent his only Son to die for me! This Father loved me before I ever knew Who He was. This Father kept me safe and sane when I was doing self-destructive things; He knew what He was getting and He wanted me anyway!
I remember my dad telling me one time when I was a teenager, that it didn’t matter what I ever did, him and mom would always love me and accept me. I knew that I was loved unconditionally by them and that went a long way; it didn’t necessarily stop me from doing things that brought me trouble, but I knew I could never do anything that would cause them to disown me. My Father loves me even more than my earthly parents ever could. He sees my heart and understands my motives. He knows me better than I know myself.
A lot of people have the same mistaken “picture” of God that I had. Some of them had abusive earthly father’s and that messes with their understanding of Who God really is. Or maybe their dad’s were distant, either emotionally or physically. Maybe they were brought up in a legalistic religious atmosphere where a wrong teaching of the nature of the Father was taught.
If you want to know Who the Father is—-take a look at a loving earthly father and know that God is all that times a million. My heavenly Father loves me more than I will ever know; has saved me dozens of times from dangerous things that I haven’t even known about (and some that I have), He watches over me when I’m sleeping and keeps me safe from all harm.
I used to be deathly afraid of thunderstorms—afraid to the point of locking myself in a windowless room such as a closet and pressing my hands over my ears in an effort to block out the sounds of the thunder. The only time I wasn’t put in this near panic state during a storm would be if I was drunk. I gave my heart to the Lord in December of 1993; and the following June I was sitting on my couch so engrossed in whatever I was reading, I failed to notice that the room was getting dark and a storm was brewing. It started to thunder and I waited for the fear but it never came. Lightning flashed across the sky and I was unmoved. I was amazed, I couldn’t help but praise Him for delivering me from this terror of thunderstorms–I had never asked to be released from it, He just did it. That is the Father’s love for His child; He could have stopped the storm in it’s tracks, but instead He drove out the fear so that I could be victorious over it. That fear has never returned and it never will.
One of my favorite glimpses of my Heavenly Father can be seen in a parable that Jesus told of the Prodigal Son. The son took his inheritance and ran through it, so that in no time he was left penniless. He decided to go home and be a servant to his father, who he was sure had disowned him. Instead, the father waited for his return each day and looked down the road to see if his son was coming. Finally that day came, when the father saw his son afar off and in his excitement, ran and met him. The father would not hear of his son becoming his servant, in fact, he threw a party instead—it was a time of celebration because his son had been lost, but then he was found.
Do you not see? This is how the Father feels about us! We make mistakes but when we sincerely apologize to Him, He quickly forgives. He waits for us, and when we are coming but still afar off, He meets us more than halfway. He wants to help us, we merely have to ask. We’re His children, He is not waiting for us to mess up so that He can disown us; but even if we do mess up, He will restore us. It says in the bible that all heaven rejoices when one sinner is saved—that’s the nature of my Father–He celebrates when one of His kids comes home!