The concept of God as a perfect father certainly isn’t something that’s new to me, however since becoming a father myself and experiencing the other side of a father-son relationship, I can’t help but find myself becoming more intrigued by this understanding of a perfect God being our father.
Although my earthly father died when I was eleven, I have so many amazing memories of him. From our weekends watching football or cricket together either at home or at the game, to our monthly father-son outings at McDonald’s, he was always my hero. But he certainly wasn’t perfect.
There were times he failed me as a father leaving me feeling abandoned, rejected and alone. I too like every other father who’s gone before me, have already failed my own son and will fail him many more times throughout his life. But God as our father never fails us. He never has and he never will.
“Every one of us has been let down by our fathers”
Although some have experienced the failures of our earthly fathers in more obvious or perverse ways than others, because of sin and having each fallen away from the image of love in which we were originally created, every one of us has been let down by our fathers in one way or another.
Because the enemy knows how hard it is for us to trust those who hurt us, he does all he can to get us to project this image of sinful man onto God. He knows that when we believe these lies about God’s character we’re robbed of intimacy and right relationship with him, stopping us from becoming all that he created us to be. It was for this very reason that Jesus came, removing the veil of sin from before our eyes and revealing to all mankind what God is really like.
When we stop to intentionally project the image of Jesus onto God, regardless of our upbringing or experiences in life, we begin to see a God that is nothing other than perfect love. It’s in the character of Jesus that we can be certain that God is nothing like our earthly fathers, never once seeking to punish us when we do wrong, but instead always seeking to bless us, restore us and remind us of who we really are.
“He’s never stopped desiring to be our father”
When I held my son for the very first time I instantly fell in love with him, not because of anything he’d done but simply because of who he was – my son! It was in that moment that I experienced a small glimpse of the unconditional love that God, as our father, has always had for each of us. When sin entered the world God didn’t change and neither did our identity. We never stopped being his children and he’s never stopped desiring to be our father. The only thing that changed was our perception of what he was like. We believed a lie about his character that caused us to stop trusting in him and we’ve been hiding in fear and shame ever since.
Thankfully God pursues us in our hiding, seeking us out in love and destroying the lies of the devil through the works of his son. Not once did Jesus let anyone down, nor did he abandon anyone. Instead, he intentionally sought out those who’d been rejected and abandoned, in order to show them the love and acceptance of their Heavenly Father.
It’s only when we start to trust that Jesus is every bit like the Father, that we begin to encounter a father who is nothing other than perfect.