Please welcome Katie M. Reid to My Messy Desk as she kicks off our next series on The Lord’s Prayer beginning with–Father, for this week’s edition of Word Nerd Wednesday.
That word can conjure up a wide-range of emotions. For some, it stirs up happy memories, for others, it triggers pain…and for some, there is a mixture of both.
There are no perfect fathers, apart from our Heavenly Father. And some find it hard to believe He is a Good Father because of their experience with those who bear the title here on earth.
But let’s take a closer look at the kind of dad God is.Click To Tweet
He is tender.
Growing up, did you resent the instructions and rules your parents gave because they seemed to threaten your happiness? Did their commands seem too controlling or harsh?
One of my favorite pictures of God as a Father who knows best and is tender toward His children, is found in Hosea 1:4 (NIV).
“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
2 But the more they were called,
the more they went away from me.
They sacrificed to the Baals
and they burned incense to images.
3 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
it was I who healed them.
4 I led them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
a little child to the cheek,
and I bent down to feed them.”
Here we see that Israel was rebellious, yet God loved His people. He set parameters for them because He knew what was good for them. He didn’t lead them with leashes of control but with cords of human kindness and ties of love. He was tender toward them yet also protective.
2. He is patient.
For years, I lived like God was a tyrannical master to please instead of a good Father to honor and enjoy. Relating to Him as a beloved daughter instead of a slave has shifted my mindset and ushered in peace.
Blue Letter Bible describes Father in the Lord’s prayer (in Matthew 6:9) like this:
Father: of Christians, as those who through Christ have been exalted to a specially close and intimate relationship with God, and who no longer dread him as a stern judge of sinners, but revere him as their reconciled and loving Father.
God was most patient with me as I floundered in this area of trying to earn the grace that He had already given as a gift.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)
3. He is gracious.
We see God as tender, patient, and full of grace, in the story of the prodigal son. When the son rebelled, the father waited patiently for his return. When the son returned, the father chose to extend grace (not as something to be earned but a gift to received). This grace was underserved, but it restored the wayward son to his father.
19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”
Luke 15:19-24 (NIV)
Our Holy Father
God’s tenderness, patience, and graciousness as a Father toward His children are not weaknesses. In fact these powerful characteristics should cause us to bow our knees to the One who chooses to care for us. He is worthy of our praise…not just for what He does but because of who He is. Perfect. Flawless. Holy.
As we pray, “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name…” may we express our gratitude for the depth of care and long-suffering that our Creator has toward us, His creation. May we not make light of these characteristics but may they point us to our desperate need for Him.
“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”
Romans 2:4 (NASB)Click To Tweet
You are a wonderful Father. You are trustworthy, merciful, and all-knowing. You are powerful and personal, you are infinite yet closer than our next breath. Thank You for knowing what’s best, for guiding us in truth, for your delight in us. May we enjoy You and glorify You, this day. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.