The more we come to know God as our one, consistent and everlasting Father, the more we will see and feel all the good and wonderful fathering qualities in our lives.
Categories: Fatherhood, Fatherhood/Motherhood
The thought of Father's Day never fails to bring to mind the qualities of fathering that one might hold dear: strength, courage, discipline, practicality, constancy, conviction, reliability, clarity, integrity, gentleness, and an ever-present sense of security. Is there any safer or more peaceful and soul-filling place to be than in a father's embrace? Our human father may be absent from our lives for any number of reasons, but fathering qualities are never absent and never depleted or interrupted because their source is God – the eternal and infinite Father of us all.
This Father constantly cares for us, guiding our footsteps and safeguarding the path we follow. "In Him we live and move and have our being." We are never far from our Father, even when it seems like we might be…or that we have a problem He can't fix. Throughout the Bible, we are reminded of God's presence and power, of His Allness and goodness, and of His tender, merciful shepherding care.
The 23rd Psalm opens with some of the most powerful fathering words: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." We have all that we need to meet any challenge at any time. We have no need to wish for something that we don't have because God is already aware of and meeting our needs – for harmony, peace, security, well-being, supply, intelligence, ability. "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." He created us to live full, rich, and abundantly good lives. He gives us of the richness of His nature to be all that we can be. "He leadeth me beside the still waters." No matter what the challenge is – fear, insecurity, lack, anxiety, emotion – no matter how severe the rapid or whitewater we face, God leads us to a place of peace, right in the midst of the unsettled waters. "He restoreth my soul." Feeling God's tender, constant embrace fills us with peace and gives us a settled sense of life – a sense that all is well because God is in control. Our Father is right here, now, with us – always and in all ways.
One night, a father wrapped his arms around his daughter as she cried in discomfort. It was bedtime, and she and her dad had just read a story as they always did; but her throat was "tickly" and a hammer was "pounding inside her head" and she "just wanted it to go away, right now, Daddy!" He held her close and asked her if she knew how much he loved her. She replied, "The biggest much in the whole wide world." Usually this familiar response made them both giggle, but tonight the daughter's tears seemed more real than her words. The father quietly held her and simply loved her. An unexpected flood of love for her took his breath away. In that instant, he understood what God's love for man – for his daughter and for himself and for each one of us – must be like. If the depth of his love for his daughter was overwhelming, imagine the magnitude of God's love for each of His children. The father's daughter relaxed into his arms – she was sound asleep; and she woke in the morning happy and well. The father never forgot the powerful force of love he felt that night. He found himself living with it and being inspired by it in all his interactions. It literally changed his view of God and of himself as a father. He now understood the Psalmist's words: "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…He restoreth my soul."
The more we think of the qualities and attributes of God, the more we come to know our one Father, and the more we will see these same qualities expressed in our lives, through the thoughts and actions of others as well as in ourselves. In effect, all of us can celebrate Father's Day by feeling the activity and the presence of our Father here and now.