I have been thinking lately about my concept of parenthood and fatherhood in particular. Regardless of what kind of parenting we had as children, we all have a tendency to look at God and the world through glasses tainted by our own experiences. The bad experiences obviously result in a warped view of God, but did you know that even the good experiences still fall far short of God’s fatherhood?
I was reminded of this verse in the Bible:
Take delight in the Lord and he will give you your heart’s desires. (Psalm 37:4 NLT).
I don’t know about you, but I must admit that sometimes I forget that my desires really are important to Father God. Yes, for the most part I think of His goodness, kindness and love and the fact that he gave Jesus for me. I really do believe that verse that says I am the apple of His eye. But lurking somewhere in the corner of my mind is the thought that my desires – what I really, really want, is no way near as important to him as what He thinks I need.
Not long ago He fulfilled a really minute and seemingly insignificant desire that I had. He did it with little effort on my part. I hadn’t even asked him for it – at least not knowingly. He did it anyway. It was like him saying to me “I know you thought it was too little to matter, but I want you to know that your desires do matter to me”.
The more I thought about it, the more I saw that even in my imperfect parenting, I do not just provide the bare necessities – food, shelter and clothing – for my children. I take delight in giving them things I know they like, even when I know they don’t really need them. Like the times my daughter wants some money to buy a new item of clothing – even though she gets pocket money for precisely that reason. Or when my son wants pizza for dinner – when I have planned a chicken dinner. Small things, I know, but I did it for them because they desired it and I knew it would not do them any harm. It was my way of saying to them, “you matter”. I love you.
Why do we reduce God to a less generous and loving parent than even we are? Why do we allow our experiences of fatherhood to colour our judgement of the kind of father that he is? A father like no other?
We need to remind ourselves constantly that He is a good Father. One that always has our best interests at heart. And one that will provide for us – not just for our needs but our desires as well. And the more we get to know Him, the less often we will desire things that really don’t please Him or that are not good for us. The same way your children grow up, and become more sensible in their choices, we too “grow up in God”. We get to the point where He can trust our choices so much that when we ask, “is this okay Papa?” He says, “Go ahead and choose. If it’s okay with you then it’s okay with me. I trust you”.
Wow! How exciting! That we get to the place where Papa trusts us to make the right choices because our hearts are joined with his. I want to get there. Don’t you?
But it starts with seeing Him as who He really is – a Father like no other. A Father who loves in spite of me, my mistakes or my errors of judgement. A Father who never gets it wrong and who never withholds any good thing from me. A Father who takes my desires as well as my needs seriously. He is not like my earthly father however good or bad he was (and as Father’s go, my earthly father did ok).
Today, if your understanding of the Fatherhood of God needs to change – then change it. He really is a Father like no other.