I didn’t know my father as a boy. As a man, God made himself known to me through Jesus and changed my life. Now, I am very grateful for my earthly father because of the love of my heavenly father, who has been (and still is) transforming, challenging, and renewing my heart and mind in so many ways over the past 7.5 years. Words fail me when I try to express or explain his incredible love to people. Yet it is thanks to the love of Father God towards me, that I am able to say that despite the distance between us, both geographically and emotionally, that I love and honour my earthly father, and I am glad to be able to think of him today.
The Bible talks about humanity being made in the image of God. In Scripture, God consistently and repeatedly reveals himself as “Father”. Thus, earthly fathers are meant to provide an accurate representation of who God is to their children. Sadly, the truth is that they often fail to do this. The reality is, that we all do. I consistently fail to accurately reflect the glorious love of Jesus to the world around me, and that’s despite knowing him and having his love flowing through my life on a daily basis.
So I know that for many of you, today is a hard day. God seems distant and/or unreal, and the word ‘father’ conjures up nothing but numbness, resentment, pain and disappointment. I spent much of my adult life carrying these feelings, and having no idea what the word ‘father’ even meant. The tragic reality is that people will inevitably disappoint us, just as we will disappoint them.
Yet today, of all days, I want you to know that there is hope. There is a true, good, all powerful, loving, gracious, compassionate, relentlessly pursuant Father who yearns to have you encounter his furious love through the person of Jesus Christ, who makes the love and true nature of the creator of all things, freely available to us.
This is why Jesus lived, suffered and died on the cross for our sins according to the scriptures, was buried, rose from death and returned to heaven until the final day of history, when he shall return, judge the living and the dead, and finally bring suffering and evil to an end forever. On that day, the Bible describes God as being amongst us, and personally wiping every tear from our eyes.
It is easy to judge those whom we feel have let us down, abandoned, rejected, hurt or upset us. It is much harder to extend love grace and compassion towards them, yet this is exactly what God wants to do to us through his son Jesus, so that we can do the same to those whom God has placed in our lives. There is a great verse in Scripture which talks about God promising to “restore the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers.” This is a glimpse of God’s father heart toward his children, and his desire to bring reconciliation through Jesus Christ.
As I’m writing this I’m hearing a song looping the words “it’s never too late” in the background. Here’s the thing, I once thought that I’d had enough, that it was too late for me, and that I had made myself unredeemable. I once believed that God probably didn’t exist, and if he did, he was a moral monster who didn’t care about me.
I was wrong, and those ideas were lies. As I prepare for fatherhood myself, my prayer for you today is that you would encounter God as father, and that he would change the meaning of that word for you. He has done, and still is doing that for me since I surrendered to him 7.5 years ago. My hope for you is that one day, thanks to the love of Jesus, it won’t sound hollow, meaningless, painful, or wrong to hear people wishing others a happy father’s day.
Love to all of you.