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Topic: fathers (06/06/05)
TITLE: Father of the Fatherless
By Carol Adams
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Have you ever pondered the thought that how we see our earthly fathers is generated by thoughts of our Heavenly Father? Fathers play a very important part in our lives from infants to adults. How did your human father treat you? If you were loved and cared for, then this question will never be contemplated; but if not, then your responses will be different.
For example, if your father abandoned you, then you might see God as abandoning you and elusive when troubles come. On the other hand, if your father abused you in any way, you might see God carrying a big stick ready to punish at the drop of a hat.
Fathers shape us in many ways. We get some of our physical attributes from them. We often have their eyes, hair, mouth, mannerisms, walk, size, humor as well as many other characteristics. Many times, we hear, “You’re just like your Dad!” However, God the Father goes beyond what we experience with our earthly fathers. We may have experienced many distortions from our Dads, but our experience with God should correct those deceptions.
The Bible presents God as a loving, tender, forgiving father who tenderly cares for us in whatever we experience in life. In 2 Corinthians 1:3 [TLB], we are told, “What a wonderful God we have - he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials.” This is a father who nurtures.
God is represented as our warrior father. Our earthly fathers try to protect and fight for us in
healthy ways as does God. God always tries to stay involved with His children. Adam and Eve are a perfect example of that. Even though they sinned in the garden, He did not cast them away, but He struggled with them to maintain a relationship with them. Adam and Eve walked away from God and made their own choices, but God, their warrior father, did not stop trying to guide them to make wise choices. Yes, there were consequences, but His arms remained open to love and forgive.
We have a spiritual mentor in God. He is always willing to teach us. A spiritual mentor is deeply and intimately involved in our lives. Paul in Romans 8:15 [NIV] tells about this intimate relationship. “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, Abba, Father.” Abba means Dear Father, Daddy. This dear father is intimately involved in our growth and maturity.
Patience is a virtue depicted by the prodigal son and his father. What a powerful lesson of whom God the Father is. The father allows his son to leave, but his son never leaves his father’s heart! The father exhibits “tough love,” but his heart remains soft and open as he patiently waits for his son to return. He does not just wait, but he persistently watches for his son to break the crest of the hill. When he sees him, he runs out to meet him. He gives him the finest robe and ring. He cancels the debt that his son owes and keeps no record of his past sin and failures. What love!
No matter what type of father we have had, God is our healing father. God knows all about us - our pain, our loss, our disappointments. Psalm 34:8 NIV tells us that “the Lord is close to those whose hearts are breaking.” We may feel fatherless - humanly speaking, but God wants us to know that He is the Father to the fatherless, which are you and me possibly. With God as my Father I have an inheritance, identity and a family!
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