There are often issues around how to view God as our Father when our earthly fathers keep bailing on us or make a mess of things. Even when they seem like pretty good dads they still fail us and it mars how we can view God as Father.
A Father to cry to
I have only recently been beginning to grasp the concept of God being our Father as well as all the other wonderful leader roles He has, and it is quite the emotional experience for me.
To add to this, whilst on a long bus trip, clutching the seat before me, desperately praying I would not lose my guts for all the passengers to see, hear, and smell, I realised something. I could finally plea, "Dad, please..." to God. I felt like a kid again, like that passage about being childlike at heart, as I interpret it (Matthew chapter 18, verse 3). It was surely a minor event, and there are more significant things to plea for but, seriously, it meant that much to me.
I never had to face the struggle of having a terrible or absent father; yes, there were rough patches but we all have those, do we not? All the same, I have never been one to open up with such emotion to my earthly dad and be able to cry out in desperation. I know I could, but that is just not me. When it is God, however, it is so different.
God versus earthly fathers
God is not like my biological father; I may be one of the lucky ones that can use my dad to get an idea of how God's fathering works but they are still so different.
First off, earthly dads are human. They make mistakes, they abandon, they abuse, they misunderstand, they cheat. However, God is not the image of our fathers. He is never the reflection, but the role model that our fathers, and those who are fathers, should aspire to be like. No one can ever equal God, but they can be inspired by Him.
When we look at God as a father, we cannot be blinded by the faulty fathers we are stuck with today. We need to open our eyes and see the loving, caring, cherishing, respecting, rebuking, guiding, mentoring God who thinks of us as His sons and daughters. The perfect Father, who always understands, always knows what is best, and is always for us and not against us. Even when things seem terrible, He is still there, rooting us on not just from the side-lines but while He is running beside us.
Rebuke and Discipline
It is also the nature of a father to rebuke and correct; to do what is right for their child so that they may grow up with firm foundations and a heart set in the right place. God is neither passive nor abusive. If we sin, there are consequences to that; He is merciful but that does not mean we get off scot-free for everything; He is just, too.
Likewise, our earthly fathers, they do not even need to be biological, should be willing to play the role of being the lovingly rebuking parent. It is a hard role to play, and many either neglect or abuse this, intentionally or not. Playing this part does not make one a bad father, and because it is so often poorly executed it does not mean that God cannot rebuke.
This is one of the more sensitive of areas to try to touch on. I cannot excuse any parents for being too passive and not playing enough of a role in their children's lives, and I most certainly cannot excuse the fathers who have been abusive, be it physical or mental. With those who relate to these negative experiences, I can merely empathise and know that is not enough.
All I want you to know is that God is not that father. I know it is, or will be, a really, really hard journey to go through and there are a lot of scars there which I cannot possibly understand. But from the other side of things, from someone who can finally see God as a Father... the feeling is so amazing and refreshing. I want you all to have the same feeling.
It is a feeling of acceptance and love and it is so confusing but wonderful so please, please work on this. It is worth the pain because there are loving, healing arms to catch us.
The ultimate Father
Where our fathers fail, God does not.
Whoever we see as our father, biological or not, dead or alive, we cannot be distracted by them and use them as an excuse to not view God as Father. He is the Father we so desperately want in the little kid hearts of ours buried deep within us.
For those of you who are, or will be, fathers themselves, I hope that you can take a look at God, for Fatherly support and as a role model, and also at your earthly fathers. What have they done right? What have they done wrong? Learn from them, and actively decide what kind of parent you will be.
What kind of legacy do you want to leave?
Sabrina Meyer is in her second year at University studying English and History with a knack for procrastination and a passion for learning. Her spare time consists majorly of reading, getting overly enthused about K-pop, and gaming.
Sabrina Meyer's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/sabrina-meyer.html