To My Three Sons ...Preston, Matthew, and Nathan on Fathers Day Sunday, 2012.
Many of us approach Father’s Day with mixed emotions. Some people have hands-on fathers who are available and interested in their lives; others have somewhat distant, disinterested fathers; while others still were abandoned by their fathers altogether. And some have fathers who have died.
But one thing we all have in common, no matter what kind of dad we have or have had, is that as born-again Christians, we have a Father in heaven. And regardless of how your father on earth has treated you, you have a Father in heaven who has always been there and always will be there for you.
The Bible says that God is a “father of the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5). And David wrote, “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, But the Lord will take me up.” (Psalm 27:10). We have a heavenly Father, and the way that we communicate with him is through prayer.
The greatest prayer that was ever prayed is often called the Lord’s Prayer, where Jesus taught us to pray:
To address God as “Father” was a revolutionary thought to the Jewish mind. The Hebrews feared God and attached such sacredness to His name, they would not even utter it. In the Old Testament, God is referred to as “Father” fewer than seven times. And when He is, it is either indirectly or rather remotely. In fact, when Jesus referred to God as his father, he was accused of blasphemy.
One of the reasons he was crucified was because he spoke of this special relationship he had with his father. And now, because of his death and resurrection, we can have that relationship, too. After rising from the dead, he said to Mary Magdalene, “... I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God” (John 20:17).
As you were growing up, if your father was disengaged, disinterested and passive, you might think of God that way: disconnected, oblivious to what is going on in your life, not really caring. Then again, if your father was an involved, nurturing and affirming dad, you might apply those same qualities to your perception of God.
But we need to view God not the way we view an earthly dad; we need to view God as He is presented in Scripture.
Not only does the Bible tell us to address him as Father, but we are to do so in an intimate way. The apostle Paul wrote, "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).
The word Abba speaks of intimacy, like calling your father “Daddy” or “Papa.” The idea is that of an affectionate relationship.
If you want an accurate snapshot of God, a proper portrait of the Father, just look at the story Jesus told about the prodigal son (see Luke 15). The story isn’t all about the son, however; it is also about the loving father. And who is more qualified to talk about a loving father than Jesus?
In this story, Jesus presents him as an engaged, loving, affectionate father who loves his sons. The father has two sons, the youngest of whom demanded his portion of the estate before the father has died. This son went off to a distant land and lived like a fool – as a prodigal – blowing his money, consorting with prostitutes, literally ending up in a pig pen, and finally coming to his senses and returning home. Back at home we see a father who longed for his son’s return and ran to throw his arms around him, kissing him over and over again.
The conclusion of the story from a modern paraphrase goes this way:
The son started his speech in verse 21: “...Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son."
That is your Heavenly Father. Although he is our God, there is intimacy, there is relationship, there is closeness, and there is affection.
If you want to know what kind of Father we have in heaven, just look at Jesus. Because Jesus said, “... He who has seen Me has seen the Father ...” (John 14:9). He also said, “If you knew Me, you would know My Father also." (John 8:19).
Just look at Jesus with the little children in his arms, blessing them. Just look at Jesus with tears streaming down his face at the grave of his friend, Lazarus. Just look at Jesus, washing his disciples’ feet in the Upper Room. That is what your Father in heaven is like.
Even though our
earthly fathers may sometimes have failed us, our Heavenly Father
wants to protect us and give us good things.
Blessed be the Lord God Almighty
Father in heaven, how we love you.
Source: Adapted from an article by Greg Laurie at http://www.wnd.com/. Greg Laurie is the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship.
Belief beyond proof is faith. Belief in spite of proof is folly.
Call or email me if you have questions.
Amen and God bless you.
Author & Webmaster: Preston
H. Hazzard, Sr.