Since we all have experienced different types of fathers (or the absence thereof), the first question we need to ask is,
“What kind of father is God?”
I think for many people, “Judge” is the prevailing name for God. God is just up there waiting for you to screw up and then He’s gonna smite you! So even when we talk about “God as Father,” we tend to think of the father who abused us, spanked us, grounded us, yelled at us for missing the ball or crashing the car.
But that’s not the kind of father God is.
The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. (Psalm 103:13–14, NLT)
Father to the fatherless, defender of widows— this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. (Psalm 68:5–6, NLT)
God is tender and compassionate. He is a Father to the fatherless and Defender of widows. God is the most powerful being in the universe. He is the greatest of all things! He is the final authority on all matters. Yet, He doesn’t use his strength and authority to exploit, abuse, or neglect, but to adopt orphans as his own children, defend those who cannot defend themselves, and welcome into the shelter of His own home those who have no home. He is merciful and compassionate toward us because He made us. He knows how weak we are. He knows we’re sinners. We knows we’re gonna screw up. And He’s not sitting there ready to “smite” us, but to love us, forgive us, pick us up and give us another shot.
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. (1 John 4:16, NLT)
So whoever your father was or is, and whatever your view of a father is, God our Father is LOVE. We don’t have a judgmental, abusive, absent, or emotionally distant father. We have, in God, the father you always hoped you could have – a tender, compassionate, loving Father.
Of course, “love” is a word that gets thrown around a lot. We talk about God loving us and us loving others, but what exactly does a father’s love look like?