God is a perfect Father, so full of mercy and grace, patience and forgiveness. He understands us better than we understand our own selves and He loves us dearly. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, He meets us right where we’re at. He is the Father of the prodigal son who has completely blown it, but upon coming home He is met with open arms, rejoicing and feasting.
God as a perfect Father can be such a challenging thing to try to show people, especially people who have had rocky relationships with their own fathers. Or those who have a perception of God as the wrathful God of the old testament, judgmental, harsh, unforgiving. It isn’t true, those are false caricatures, stereotypes, distorted scripture. We have a way of seeing only what validates our own bias, what affirms the things we have heard, and completely blinding ourselves to all else.
It’s taken me a while to really read the old testament and to truly see what lurks there, to sense the nature and character of God as He really is, outside the negative framework that locks Him down as being nothing but wrath, condemnation, and judgment. Today I can see only His mercy, His patience, His power.
Some can only see how He kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden, but I see how He clothed them in skins, how He posted an angel, how He cursed a serpent. David, a great and favored king, was also an adulterer and a murderer, but God still loved Him. Over and over again I see mercy and forgiveness and a God who know us well, but loves us anyway. Flaws and all.
Jesus Christ truly is the manifestation of our Father’s love for us. God’s son, the most precious thing a father can sacrifice, a price way too high for anyone to pay. Abraham understood this, he who was called to sacrifice his very own son, His hand stopped at the last moment. This Abraham, this is what your heavenly Father will do when He sacrifices His only begotten son for all your descendants. This is what it feels like, this is how great my love is for all of you.
I’ve run away from home more as an adult than I ever did as a child. Not for long, a few hours, a couple of days at the longest, times when family, kids, distress in my community, just broke me and I had to flee. Now truly I have the Lord’s favor and protection, but I don’t think it’s me, I think it’s Him, I think it speaks to His nature, not mine. Not once have I met condemnation or judgement, but complete grace, such understanding and forgiveness, such good humor, such steadfast love. Yep, she’s come undone again. The last time was especially powerful, God simply said, Let’s go, but I’m coming with you. That’s the kind of love that completely disarms me. Here I am longing for a fight and instead I’m left staring at the face of grace. It crushes you, in the best way possible. All arguments are forgotten and you’re just left desiring to be pleasing to Him, to be allowed to seek His favor.
That’s the God I know. Are there rules? Of course, but there is also redemption and a God who meets us right where we’re at, every single time we turn to Him.
I love to watch young fathers with their kids, there really is nothing more precious. They can be very cute, those moments of adoration, of vulnerability, the great love they have for their children. Besides simply being cute, they also teach me what our heavenly Father is really like and how precious we really are to Him. There’s been a you tube video floating around for a while now that I’ve wanted to link to, just a daddy singing to his daughter. If this is how earthly fathers feel about their children, just imagine how much greater is our Father’s love for us all.