This isn’t your typical Father’s Day post, I know.
But I find myself processing this question (again) this year:
How well do you know your Father?
You might assume that I’m referring to your dad with this question.
In pondering the character of God, our heavenly Father, I realized that my vision of Him has often been incorrect.
That maybe I don’t know my heavenly Father as well as I thought I did.
This concept of God is really, really important, because-
Your vision of God- your perception of His character-
is the filter through which you see yourself,
your standing in Christ,
and your responsibility toward other believers (and to non-believers, as well).
Is He a frowning, disapproving father?
Impossible to please or approach?
Or is He a gentle and patient father, cheering you on and loving you despite your short comings?
Honestly, most of my life I regarded God as the hard-to-please father.
One who demanded a standard of perfection that I could never achieve.
Many of my early adult years were spent striving, striving, striving to meet my own expectations of righteous living (self-righteousness), and struggling with feelings of
discouragement over my inability to arrive at what I felt I needed to become-
The way I viewed God created a false reality through which I saw myself and others.
It was easy to become critical when I inwardly felt that God was my biggest critic.
It was easy to become harsh toward others when I believed that God was harsh and hard to please.
It was easy for life- and ministry- to become very narrow and negative when my scope of God and humanity was narrow and negative.
As I grow older and grow in Christ, the more I realize that God’s character is vastly complex and infinitely beyond the farthest horizon of my human understanding.
And the more I realize my lack of understanding his bountiful nature, the more I long to plunge into the depths of the knowledge of His character.
Consider these beautiful glimpses into the nature of our heavenly Father, each taken from readings in the book of Psalms:
“… in his favor is life…“ (Psalm 30:5)
“He that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him.” (Psalm 32:10)
“The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth the all the sons of men. From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. He fashioneth their hearts alike (individually); he considereth (understands) all their works.” (Psalm 33:13-15)
“Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.” (Psalm 33:18)
“The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.” (Psalm 34:15)
“The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart…“ (Psalm 34:18)
What kind of picture do these verses paint in your imagination?
The strokes of these verses create a colorful palette of gentle attributes against the harsh tapestry of life.
The figure that emerges before the eyes of my heart is a
loving father who is attentive and personal toward his children.
———–> I see the small, upturned faces of young children, basking in the favor and pleasure of their laughing daddy (Psalm 30:5).
———–> I see a small, sleeping child, surrounded and hedged in by the protecting arms of his merciful guardian (Psalm 32:10).
———–> I see an observant creator, fashioning each unique detail of his children and then watching in wonder as they fulfill his eternal purposes through the daily tasks and skills of life (Psalm 33:13-15).
———–> I see an attentive father, closely watching and safeguarding his children, his ears tuned to the sound of their voices and his heart moved with compassion for their human brokenness (Psalm 33 & 34).
Does this fit your description of God?
Is this how your heart perceives his posture toward you?
If not, ask yourself why? Then ask him to gently open your eyes to the treasures and truths of his eternally steadfast nature.
Dear friend who is weary of striving… know that you are a cherished child, loved and safe-guarded by a gracious and gentle Father.
Yes, he will chastise you, correct you, discipline you.
But his heart is tender toward you. His countenance is open and gracious toward you.
Like a doting daddy, his eyes and ears are trained upon you. Yes, you!
If you really believed that, how would your view of God change? A little? Dramatically?
How would it change how you perceive yourself?
Would it affect how you relate with and value your children? Your spouse? The members of your congregation? Your partners in ministry?
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Sweet friend, let the beautiful nature of your heavenly Father come alive in your heart today!
Ask him to let you get to know him a little better… a little deeper… a little higher.
“Come unto me, all ye that are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me. For I am meek and lowly in heart…”