Sunday Thoughts: The Perfect Father

Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

My dad passed away in April 2020, so this Father’s Day is my fourth one without him. I had a great relationship with my dad, even though he could drive me crazy. (What dads don’t annoy their kids?)

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Father’s Day can be a tough time for people who didn’t have a good relationship with their fathers. It’s easy to understand how difficult it can be to celebrate someone who wasn’t there, who was abusive or neglectful, or who was someone you butted heads with.

This day can also be tough for people who have lost their fathers. The first Father’s Day after my dad died was also our first Sunday back at church following COVID-19 lockdowns, so it was a bittersweet day. Father’s Day can sometimes be heavy for me. At the same time, it makes me grateful for the years that I did have with my dad.

I can also understand how paternal relationships color people’s view of God. If someone’s father was a stern disciplinarian, he may see God the same way. If another person’s dad was cold and distant, that’s how she might think of God. People who have relatively healthy relationships with their dads tend to have a more balanced view of God, too — though that’s not always a given.

This Father’s Day, I have some incredible news: God is the perfect Father, and He is completely unlike your dad. No matter what your relationship with your father is like — whether your earthly dad is (or was) good or bad — God is infinitely better.

It’s true! God is a flawless Father who knows and does only good for His children, and if we are in Christ, we’re adopted as God’s children.

The Apostle Paul tells the Roman church:

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For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Romans 8:14-17 (ESV)

Think about this: as adopted children of God, we get a full share in the inheritance of Jesus! No earthly father can match that for goodness.

Related: Sunday Thoughts: Certain of God’s Promises

If you had an earthly father who abandoned you or wasn’t around much, take comfort in the fact that, as Psalm 68:5 reminds us, “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.” Hebrews 13:5 let us know that God is the Father who promises, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

There’s so much more! Ray Ortlund reminds us:

It is Jesus who calls God “Abba, Father” (Mark 14:36). It is Jesus who teaches us to pray to God as our Father (Matt. 6:9). It is the Spirit of the Son who leads us into intimacy with God as our own Abba Father (Gal. 4:6). Now we know that, as our Father, God cares for us and provides for us (Matt. 6:25–34). As our Father, he hears and answers our prayers (Matt. 7:7–11). As our Father, he disciplines us (Heb. 12:3–11). As our Father, he receives us and forgives us and rejoices over us when in repentance we come home to him (Luke 15:11–32). That God the Father has made himself God our Father means that he is personally, emotionally, and even sacrificially involved with us.

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Ortlund goes on to say that “The greatest glory of God, therefore, is not that he is separate and far beyond us; the greatest glory of God is that the One who is separate and far beyond us, who is high and lifted up, who created all things and needs nothing… that glorious God also chose to become our Father, lovingly adopting us as his own children forever.”

The Apostle John puts it this way: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1). How encouraging is it to know that we’re God’s children?

Whether you have a good father whom you love or you don’t have a relationship with your dad, celebrate the fact that God is your heavenly Father, and He will never let you down. He promises you a perfect, unchanging relationship with Him forever if you’ve called on Jesus as your Lord and Savior. That’s worth being excited about, no matter what our earthly fathers are like.

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