What does it mean to have a father? What does it mean to be a father? On this Father’s day morning I have been sitting with these two questions and trying to understand how the way we experience our earthly father and how we are as earthly fathers really plays itself out in our interaction with God our heavenly Father.
First off, what does it mean to have a Father? Well in the earthly sense it can mean many different things. I know that there are a variety of experiences out there when it comes to what we have experienced as children of fathers. Some of us had great fathers who were loving, caring, supportive, engaged, and always there for us while some of us had fathers who were absent, neglectful, abusive, and never gave us the support or nurture we needed. Sadly, the condition of sinful man has created a framework where fallen sinful men enter into fatherhood and some by the grace of God become great fathers and others do not.
A second question is, what does it mean to be a father? As children of fathers we often take our own experience and apply what we have learned to our own parenting style. Sometimes we will parent in many of the same ways our father did, but there will be times where we may parent in direct opposition to our father’s ways. Much of it will depend on how we remember how we were parented and through what lens we view our father’s actions.
So what does any of this have to do with the Kingdom? From my perspective, everything. The reason I say everything is because if you ask most people what a father should be they will tell you many of the same things.
A father should be the hero of every story.
A father should protect us from evil.
A father should express and show love.
A father should be encouraging and supportive.
A father should comfort us in times of distress.
A father should help us when we are in need.
A father should love us enough to sacrifice for us.
Many of us have had fathers that have done some of these things pretty well. Many of us have had fathers that did none of these things at all. As I read the list I just wrote I am reminded of how inadequate I am sometimes and how far my fatherhood I still have to go.
So why does fatherhood mean everything?
The Bible teaches us that God the creator of all things desires to be our Father. Where sinful men have failed us and where we have failed as sinful men, God has chosen in His providence to be for us what other earthly men cannot. A perfect Father.
He is the Hero of every story.
He protects us from evil.
He expresses and shows love.
He is encouraging and supportive.
He comforts us in times of distress.
He helps us when we are in need.
He loves us enough to sacrifice.
John 3:16 (English Standard Version)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”.
I know this verse is used over and over, maybe to the point where its meaning becomes lost in familiarity, but this the heart of father’s day for me. That God who had a Son, sacrificed that Son so that through that sacrifice we may all call God, Father. Without this sacrifice we would all still be on the outside looking at a just God who punishes those who have rebelled against him. Without the sacrifice of Jesus we would be without access to the perfect Father.
Do you believe? Do you know his Son? Can you call him Father?
It means everything.
Happy Father’s Day!
Grace and Peace,