A Father's Love
1 John 1:3
It is fitting that on Father’s Day, we talk about fathers because, even though we don’t all have fellowship with our earthly fathers, all believers have a heavenly father. John writes here about the importance of this fellowship, which means sharing vision and common purpose. When we share these things we have unity, peace and we are all “on the same page”.
From the very beginning of creation, God has wanted to have fellowship with us. Fathers ache for fellowship with their children and so it is important to schedule time to be together without interruptions like work.
God also knew what to do when fellowship was broken in the garden of Eden. He took the first step to heal the breach and not hold onto the wound. When the relationship between a father and their children is broken both of them need to forgive but, someone has to take the first step. In Jesus’ tale of the prodigal son, the father forgave the son long before he apologised. The son still apologised because it is the right and important thing to do. As God moves to reconcile with us, so fathers should do the same with their children.
When Jesus taught us to pray, it begins with ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name’. This line is effectively saying “your reputation is sacred and of great value”. Human fathers can leave us with holes in our understanding of God but a good father will still demonstrate God’s attributes. When fathers are absent or distant we usually need reprogramming in our view of God the Father.
The Bible tells us first what God is like through His creation. The invisible God is clearly seen in the landscapes, plants and creatures of our planet, (Romans 1:20). From creation we see that God is incomparably big, colourful, powerful and generous.
The next step in understanding God is through Jesus, the exact image of God in human form. Jesus is an answer to humanity’s problems, bringing life to people everywhere. In the gospels we also see Jesus affirmed as a son of God, even before He had performed a single miracle. You too can come before God and anticipate His love raining down on you.
Eve was made in the image of God but God is our father not our mother. Sometimes we want God to be a mother to us. While a mother’s love is protective, a father’s love is riskier and expectant, pushing us to grow. Fathers love dangerously to prepare their children for a dangerous world. We often underestimate the way fathers provide security and stability for their children but we shouldn’t.
Sometimes when you want God to be motherly (empathetic), He is being a father to you so that you grow. Peter would not have been very pleased when Jesus prophesied that he would deny Jesus three times and Satan wanted to test him. Instead of taking the trial away, Peter was given the assurance that he would come through it. We too can have confidence that trials will not crush us but cause us to grow. Jesus fills in the gaps when we make mistakes; He can redeem any situation.
In the Old Testament, the essence of man’s relationship with God after the garden of Eden was unapproachability as God separated Himself from His people. In the New Testament that relationship is characterised by God being available and approachable, God living with us.