I am grateful, this Father’s Day, for the privilege of having some quiet time to reflect on the importance of this day. It’s been a busy time in transition church ministry here in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. My wife, Carolyn, joined me for this special weekend which has helped to make it even more special. It’s a rainy, cold weekend here on the Canadian prairie, but the weather hasn’t dampened the opportunity to celebrate. Father’s Day isn’t a biblical Christian holiday, but there are lots of reasons to celebrate a day like this from a Christian perspective.
For one thing, there are many references in the Bible to the fatherhood of God. He is the father of all because he created all and all have their origin in God, and all were created in his image. Malachi 2:10 speaks of all having one father, and Ephesian 4:6 refers to God being the father of all. This fact, in itself is astounding. All have their origin in God and being such, are accountable for their lives to him who created them. He is the one who gives life to all and he is the one in whom we live and breathe and have our being. We may have come into this world by some means of human conception, but God is the one who made it possible.
The fatherhood of God toward the human family may not mean much to us were it not for the fact that in the Bible we have been shown the nature of the special relationship that exists between God and his own son, Jesus Christ. It is in Jesus’ reference to this relationship and his communication with his heavenly Father that we see the true nature of God as father. Jesus spoke often of his relationship to his heavenly Father and of his dependence upon that father. One of the best expressions of this is the one we find in John 5:19, where he says, Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but only does what he sees the Father do. For whatever thing he does, these are also likewise done by the Son. Jesus never did anything without reference to his heavenly Father. He felt completely dependent upon his Father in heaven. It was a relationship of great intimacy.
Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that through Jesus Christ, God has made it possible for any human being to have a similar intimate experience of God as personal father through faith. It is in this way that Christians learn to relate to God. He becomes their personal heavenly Father by virtue of what his Son, Jesus has done for us by His death on the cross for our sins (Ephesians 1:5). I love this concept — that God has adopted me into his family and is my personal Father. It is not surprising that there are many references in the Bible to the fact that God relates to us, his children, as our heavenly Father.
One of the outstanding characteristics of our heavenly Father is that he relates to us in compassion (Psalm 103:13). He knows our weaknesses and sympathizes with our inability to deal with them. He also exercises discipline in our lives for our benefit. The principle of Proverbs 3:11, 12 is repeated in Hebrews 12:5, 6 about paying attention to our heavenly Father’s discipline due to the fact that it comes to us by way of his great love, similar to the way and reason earthly fathers discipline their own children. There are many other biblical images of God’s fathering in the lives of his children — providing for them, protecting them, enabling them to grow toward maturity and fulfillment through his plans for them. And it is these same images that lead us to know something of what God has in mind for men like me in our role as fathers to our own children.
I feel so blessed, this weekend, for the privilege of being a father. I am thankful for the way in which God has provided a beautiful wife for me so that I could know this privilege. What an awesome blessing it is to be the father to several children, and through them, to be the grandfather to even more. The older I grow in this experience of fatherhood, the more I can appreciate the wonder of God’s plan in being a father to the whole human family, and especially to those who have become his children, by the supernatural work of his Holy Spirit, through his Word, and through faith in Jesus Christ.
Again and again, God has proven to be a very gracious and faithful father in my life. By this means, he has shown me a wonderful model of what he longs for me to express and experience as an earthly father. The greatest honour that could ever be given to any dad is that his children see reflections of the ways in which God is a gracious and faithful father to his children. ed