My parents are amazing. They are pillars of faith: rocks during trials, full of grace and compassion, generous and selfless. Growing up they had high expectations with strict behavioral outlines, but within those confines my two sisters and I had complete freedom to explore who we were, the ways that God has created and blessed us and figure out what He had in store for our lives.
We moved some as a family. Changing schools and churches was hard but I’m certainly grateful now for the ability to resettle, make friends and establish myself in new places. And my parents instilled in me a confidence that “you will always have family”. You might not have a home, friends come and go, but we will always have each other. I lived four years literally as far away as I could on this planet from my family (12 hours time difference!), and my mom came to see me three times. My dad drove with me across the country when I moved to Colorado in December, and he is driving across the country again today to go on a motorcycle trip with me.
I seriously could not ask for a better family. Or better parents.
And one of the pictures that scripture paints for us is the fact and imagery that God is our father.
“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8.15)
Abba is an Aramaic word that literally translates to English as “daddy”. Christians, because of the nature of salvation and the way in which God cares for us, are adopted by the God of the universe and can approach Him as a child and call Him daddy.
I have heard it said in the past that some people wrestle with this imagery of God as father because they have bad fathers. Or non-existent fathers. This is a tragedy on so many levels. I in no way take it for granted that my family is amazing; they truly are a gift from God. But to rest my understanding of God as my Heavenly, perfect and eternal father based on my dad is not only un-biblical, but it is completely detrimental to the entire reality being portrayed to us. First of all, to define God in His perfect role by looking at our life situations robs God of His glory. If I only understand as a Father in the ways that my dad is a father, there is no comprehension of Him as creator, as sovereign, as the one who has ordered every single step I take, keeps my tears in a jar and knows the number of hairs on my head.
Secondly, God is so infinite, so good, perfect and beyond our comprehension that even the best of fathers do not even come close to Him! Sometimes visualizing things helps me, so here is a very simple scale, if you will, as to exemplify the greatness of God as compared to humanity:
There is simply no comparison, and any of us would be completely bereft of ability to glory in the truth of God’s love for us if we focus on our own fathers as the standard. Sure, in earthly comparisons there are good dads and there are bad dads. And then there is God. He alone satisfies all of our longings, desires and needs. If you are expecting your earthly father to fulfill any of those needs, you are not trusting in God. And any father of faith would wholeheartedly tell his children this truth. This is terribly freeing to both children and parents. As a child, I can be satisfied and fulfilled in my Heavenly Father, having all of my needs met and I am then free to know and love my earthly father without expectation or selfishness. He is my brother in Christ! And as a parent this should be freeing in that you can point your children to the Heavenly Father who will never disappoint them! You do not have to be everything for your kids. Your responsibility is to point them to God, to whom they belong anyway.
So whatever your situation is, whatever trial has been in your path, look to God. He will satisfy you. He cares for you unlike any human being. He has created you with a purpose and He intends to work out that perfect plan in your life, and He is completely and totally trustworthy.