Article: FATHER HEART OF GOD | Jacob Varghese
The world celebrates Father’s day. As Father’s Day approaches, I am reminded of the special relationship that fatherhood encompasses with my children. A father is expected to be protective, affectionate, source of encouragement, a wall of trust and security, a patient listener, provides the necessities of life and spends time with his children. In our context as Christians, a father is expected to bring their children up in the ways of the Lord, to discipline them and to encourage, comfort and instruct them. Having now raised three daughters, I know how difficult it is to be in the role of a father. Being a father is an incredible privilege and responsibility. I love being a dad! But honestly, being a father is one of the greatest challenges any of us could take up. There is so much I wanted to do for my girls and my imperfect attempts to help them mature often fell short. All human fathers are failures in many ways and to different degrees. No human father is perfect. Father’s Day can be linked to Christianity in a way to celebrate the ideals of fatherhood set forth in the Scripture. The ideals of fatherhood are strong in the Bible. Christ described God as his own intimate Father and claimed to show in himself what the Father was like. God gave his beloved son for the salvation of the world. So it is appropriate to remember our heavenly father in this context. The Bible is full of our Father’s words of blessings for us and also instructions for us earthly fathers to follow. We need to pay special attention to the many Bible Verses on the Father’s Love. He is the Good Shepherd and he knows your name. He calls you by name. Jesus gives the best father’s blessing of loving affirmation we see in Mark 10:13-14. People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them,
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these”.
He has promised countless times that He will never leave us. He even went so far as to show us how much He loves us by sending His only Son. Can I ask for anything else? However, we have a Heavenly Father who says it is His good pleasure to give us the kingdom. He wants to give good gifts to His children. We can just walk into the throne room anytime. That’s right. The door is not locked because it is not even shut. In fact it is wide open. We have access to our Father every moment of every day. It’s never inconvenient to go into the heavenly throne room of God and say, “Father, I am confident that You hear me and will answer me, so I am making my requests known to You.” He said in His Word to come boldly, so just go on in there and speak to your Father. He is our Abba Father; that means He is our Heavenly Father. Hebrews 4:16 says “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Matthew 21:22 says “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Luke 12:32 says “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” When we go to our Heavenly Father, we can trust He has the best answer for us. It may be a yes, a no, or a wait. He sees the beginning from the end. He knows what to give us, so what are you waiting for? Walk on in. You can boldly access the throne room of grace. Your Father is waiting to meet you this very moment.
Have you ever had an important problem that you needed help with and you asked your father, “Dad, I need your advice on something”? This makes your Dad like feel important and challenged. They want to share their wisdom. But what about asking Dad for the little things — like the car keys, money, or even permission to leave the house? All too often we fear asking too many questions. We fear becoming a hassle, or we probably fear rejection. We have been given so much more than the keys to the family car; we have been given the keys to the kingdom that unlock blessings as we believe God and exercise our faith and our rights as a child of God. We are told to ask and it shall be given unto us.
God is the only perfect Father. He never ceases to love, and His love is expressed by his constant care, patience, and mercy toward us. He will never forsake his children or fail to provide for them, nor disappoint them by a faulty character. “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Ephesians 6:4 says, Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. But in Proverbs 22:6 we see it is written ” Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” 1 Corinthians 8:6 says “yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live”.
One of the most wonderful revelations of the Bible is that God is our Father. God reveals Himself in the Bible as a gentle, forgiving Father, intimately involved with each and every detail of our lives. It is not only a beautiful picture, but a true one. I want to talk about different areas concerning God as our father and His love for us- God’s qualities of fatherhood.
I. Parental Authority
Our past experiences dictate our response when God reaches out to us. A weeping prophet named Hosea heard the voice of God saying, “When Israel was a child I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me. They sacrificed to the idol god and they burned incense to images. It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.” We see this in Hosea 11:1-4. God’s authority is not harsh and vindictive, but to the contrary, He is unspeakably gentle and long-suffering.
We as parents need to understand that God is slow to anger and delights to be merciful. It was only right that we should correct our children’s disobedience, but our children should always know that we discipline them because we love them, and not because we are venting our momentary frustration. It was God who gave this command to parents in Ephesians 6:4: “Parents don’t keep on scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful. Rather, bring them up with the loving discipline the Lord Himself approves.” Proverbs 1:8 says “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.” In 2 Samuel 7:14-15: we read, “I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to me. When he does wrong, I will discipline him in the usual ways, the pitfalls and obstacles of this mortal life. But I’ll never remove my gracious love from him.” Hebrews 12:7 says “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?”
II. Parental Faithfulness
Every promise of God will be fulfilled. He is a consistently loving father. His one heart motive remains the same through time and eternity. He never changes. He only desires to show love and forgiveness. You are God’s child and even now He calls your name, but may be deep in your heart you doubt His faithfulness. As a child you may have experienced the complete absence of a father because of death or divorce. Maybe you were orphaned by the demands of your parents’ career? Or is it just the childhood memory of broken promises or neglect that haunts you? Do you have an inability to sense God’s presence with you? Look up into His eyes and see His love for you. In Hebrews. 13:5 He says “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you”. In Matt.28:20 He says “I am with you always even until the end of the age.” Your Heavenly Father was there when you first walked as a child. He was there through hurts and disappointments. He is present now at this moment. Your loving Father waits even now with outstretched arms. In 2 Tim. 2:13 we see “Even when we are too weak to have any faith left, He remains faithful to us who are part of Himself and He will always carry out His promises to us.” 2 Corinthians 6:18 says “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
III. Parental Generosity
The truth is that God is certainly generous. Creation shows an extravagance of color, complexity, and design that goes far beyond simple functional value. It was created by God in the hope that one day the children of Adam and Eve might glance at it and be blessed by its beauty. The greatest demonstration of God’s father heart can be experienced by the depth of details displayed in our life. He surprises us with those extra things, those little pleasures and treasures that only a father would know we long for. God is not stingy, possessive, or materialistic. We use people to get things; He uses things to bless people. My wife and I have worked in mission organizations, trusting God for our daily needs. Our testimony is that in providing for us, God goes far beyond our basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter. We serve a truly generous God! The Psalmist said in Psalm 37:3-5, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.”
IV. Parental Affection
Do you have any idea how attractive you are to God? But one of the biggest hindrances in our walk with Him is a sense that our flesh is disgusting to Him because of sin. Yes, you have sinned. Yes, you have broken God’s heart. But you are still the center of God’s affections – the apple of His eye. It is He who pursues us with a forgiving heart. We say, “I found the Lord,” but the truth is- He found us. His compassion and understanding are measureless. He feels our hurts more deeply than we do because His sensitivity to suffering is so much greater. You have forgotten most of your pains, but God has not. He has perfect recall of every moment of your life. Your tears are still mingled with His at this very moment. God was there when you walked alone avoiding the eyes of others. When you sat in a situation confused and dejected, He was with you. Hosea 11:4 says “I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them” Psalm 103:13 says “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.”
V. Parental Availability & Attentiveness
There is one attribute of God that not even the best parent can hope to imitate – that is God’s ability to be with you all the time. As parents we just cannot give constant attention 24 hours a day. We are finite beings who can only focus on one thing at a time. Not only is God with you all the time, but He gives you His whole attention. I Peter 5:7 say “Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.” God is constantly thinking an uninterrupted stream of loving thoughts toward you as though nobody else in the world exists. You say, “How does He do that? How can He be personally involved with all the human beings at the same time?” Frankly, I don’t really know, but I know it is no problem for the Creator of the world. Perhaps the explanation is the speed of His thought. God has created things in nature that pulsate at incredible speed. Who knows how He does it? Just enjoy it! As far as you are concerned, it is just you and God. You don’t have to get His attention, He is already listening. Don’t worry about taking His time. It is all yours. Your parents were often preoccupied with their activities, and sometimes showed no vital interest in the small events of your life, but God is not that way. He cares. He is a God of detail. Why does the Bible say that God has numbered the hairs of your head? He knows us and cares about our lives. Father God always looked, always took delight in the work of your hands. He is your real Father, and always will be. Don’t ever resent the failings of your human parents. Rather rejoice in the wonderful love of your Father God. Proverbs 4:11-12 say “I will guide you in the way of wisdom and I will lead you in upright paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered, and when you run, you will not stumble.”
VI. Parental Acceptance
We live in a performance-oriented society. Acceptance is always conditional. The kingdom of this world is a kingdom of rejection. The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of unconditional love. God’s promises are conditional, we must obey Him to see blessing, but His love is unconditional. You don’t have to wait to experience the love of God. Come as you are. Just be honest with Him about your sin. He delights to forgive you. Even in the depths of your past rebellion He still loved you. Even God’s judgments are motivated by love. What is your response to God when He simply says He loves you? Can you “Be still and know that He is God” without rushing into frantic activity to earn His approval? Don’t be so restless in the presence of God. Corrie Ten Boom had some simple advice to offer this generation. She, who experienced so much suffering at the hands of the Nazis, yet went on to great spiritual victory, once said, “Don’t wrestle just nestle.” What a profound statement but simple truth. Yes, there is much to be done in your life and through your life. There will be days when God comes bringing deep conviction of sin, showing you areas of your life that need to be changed, committed and submitted to Him. But God is not always demanding changes. He knows our limits and He gives us the grace and power to do the things He asks of us. He is tender and compassionate.
If you see that you have been hindered in your relationship with God due to some kind of failure of parental love, then take these things to the Lord. You must find forgiveness in your heart towards anyone who has hurt you. If you don’t, your bitterness will consume you and you will find no peace with God. Realize that you are not alone. I have not met a perfect earthly father yet, or a parent who has not made mistakes. Everyone has suffered some kind of hurt in their life. The important thing is that you go forward and get to know God for who He really is – not who you think He is. He is the Perfect father. He always disciplines in love. He is faithful, generous, kind, and just He loves you and He longs to spend time with you. He wants you to receive His love and know that you are a special and unique person to Him. Will you receive God’s love and affection? Won’t you open up and enter into an intimate relationship with your true Father? He is patiently waiting for you to come. It is my prayer that you will realize His love for you and respond to the father heart of God.