My birth mother left my father while pregnant and then put me up for adoption when I was born. When the state contacted my dad to let him know that I was in foster care and to ask if he wanted to allow me to be adopted, or take a paternity test and begin the long process of gaining custody of me he says he didn't hesitate to step up and accept the role of father.
My dad didn’t have a father for most of his life so it’s not like he was just choosing to reenact what he had seen. I am still amazed by the maturity and selflessness he had within himself to choose to lay down his current life and freedom and take up the responsibility of raising me and later my brother.
Father is such an important role because our fathers are meant to point to the Father. When Jesus taught the disciples to pray in Matthew 6:9, He told them to start with “Our Father, which art in heaven.” It is such a big deal that God is our Father. Up until that point in history, God was Lord but then Jesus came and made a way for God to be Abba. Daddy. Father.
We all easily love Jesus because due to His humanness He is easy to relate to but sometimes it can be hard to know how we feel about God. Generally, your opinion of God is heavily influenced by how you see and relate to your dad.
My intention is not to dishonor or shame any fathers but we have to acknowledge the temptation we face of trying to make God into what we know our earthly fathers to be. I want to shine the light on some ways that God is absolutely different from your dad even if your dad totally deserves his “greatest dad ever” mug.
This post is for the ones lucky enough to have a father that was amazing, the ones who had a dad but he wasn't what you needed when you needed it, for the ones whose fathers were totally absent for some reason or another and for the ones whose fathers fall anywhere in between. This post is good news.
Your dad’s pride can be hurt.
Your dad is human. Ground breaking revelation I know but stay with me. In all seriousness, our father's humanness means they are susceptible to wounded pride because our success or failure reflects back on them as a parent. We can embarrass them and in that embarrassment sometimes they aren't the best versions of themselves.
I still remember the look of complete disbelief on my bewildered father's face when I showed up at 18 for a visit sporting a brand new tattoo on my abdomen proudly displayed by my slightly cropped shirt. Not his proudest moment.
I also remember the look of anger and fear when he had to come fetch me early one morning the year before after being awoken by police at his front door informing him that the daughter he thought was sleeping safely down the road at a trusted friends home was actually in the hospital completely hammered and unconscious from drugs and alcohol.
I'm not saying anger isn't justified in situations like these nor and I implying that our dad's love waivers. I'm just pointing out that our response to others actions are filtered through how that person’s actions have affected us. That is just natural human nature.
Our fathers’ pride and fears play a role in how they discipline and react to us when we screw up. Our actions and mistakes impact their identity as a father and influence their perceived value and effectiveness as a parent.
You can’t hurt God’s pride.
God, on the other hand, isn't shocked, scared or embarrassed by our mistakes and short comings. He knows us in and out and He doesn’t take our mistakes personally. Our screw ups don't impact his identity.
He knows that when I overdid it that night with drugs, I was actually buried beneath the weight of shame and lies. He knows that I was convinced that I was alone and unloved in my world. He's aware that in order to cope and survive with the weight of those lies I looked to drugs and was reckless with the precious life I'd been given. God wasn't offended by my actions because He fully understood the pain I was under.
He’s also not offended or embarrassed by the condition of your life, finances, career, emotional well being or church attendance. He won't lash out, condemn or shame you or put you on blast at the next family picnic.
Your dad has fears.
My dad is a brave man. One of the bravest. If he's afraid of much I never noticed. That's how dads are I suppose. If we are being honest though, of course, he has fears. Every person has fears and especially if they’re a parent. Fear is something that weaves its way into everyone's parenting at some point or another and to be fair there is so much to worry and be fearful of. Thank God for His help and presence.
The problem is what fear does to us. Fear tends to bring out the sides of us we are not the proudest of. When we as children do something that scares our parents, the response we get from them will be influenced by their fears. For some parents, their response can be quite hurtful or even harmful at times because we tend to mistakenly think anger and imparting fear are the most effective correctional tools.
God is not afraid of anything.
He is not afraid. Nothing you come to Him and tell Him will scare Him. He’d not worried that you aren’t married yet or that you haven’t started having children. He’s not afraid of your mistakes or of the things you’re struggling with.
I have a dear friend that always says something to the effect of "God is not going to fall off His throne on account of you." That is so true and so reassuring! You are not going to hear God say anything like "WHAT?! What do you mean you quit your job to be an artist/travel the world/feed sick kids in third world countries?!" or "WHAT?! You're addicted to drugs/pornography/trashy cable television?!" The thought of such words coming from HIm is hilarious because it's just not reality.
He’ll walk with you through what ever ugly thing you are facing or are stuck in without flinching, hesitating or shaming you. He is more than willing to partner with you as you walk into freedom and healing. He'll love you through it all. He’s not afraid of your brokenness.
Your dad has limited resources.
Even if your dad is an Olympian or a wrestling champion of the world, he has his physical limitations. Your dad could be Bill Gates or Rockefeller but he for sure has his financial limitations. Your dad has limitations. That's not shameful it's just fact. There is a cap to what he is capable of in all areas of life.
Your dad also has shame and brokenness that also limit his effectiveness and even presentness as a father.
God has no limitations.
Psalm 50:10 says He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.
Psalm 24:1 says everything is His.
Isaiah 40:28 says that He never grows tired or weary.
Ephesians 3:18 says it takes an effort to even begin to measure the dimensions of His love for us.
Ephesians 3:20 says that we can't even exaggerate all that He is capable of and has in store for us.
God’s resources are without limit and because we have already established that He is good we can trust Him and rest in Him and His ability to faithfully provide for and lead us. Whatever scary thing you are facing right now turn your eyes from it to Him and trust Him.
Whether your dad is a rock star father, missing in action or something in between it is crucial that you understand that the very best earthly father on the planet is still but a shadow of the Heavenly Father above who is so incredibly fond of you.
If your dad was awesome then know he’s only a dim reflection of the goodness of God. There is so much more available to you.
If your dad was always busy, know that God is always with you and available to you. Because of Jesus you forever have access to your Heavenly Dad and you are always the center of His attention.
If you dad was angry or mean, know that God is not. Any anger He had was placed upon His Son so that all He has for you is kindness and love. Your sin doesn't anger Him. It actually saddens Him because it shackles you.
If your dad was non-existent know that that was not God’s plan and it breaks His heart that your earthly dad fell short of the mark but know that He never will. He will be the Father you’ve always wanted.
If you hear nothing else hear this. God is a good Father. He's more than even that. He's the BEST Father. You are loved and valued and treasured by Him. He is proud of you. He is in your corner and He and all of the angels of heaven are cheering you on. You are not alone. You are not unloved or unwanted. Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice so that you could know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you are wanted. You are loved.
I really hope and pray this encouraged you today and help shift some of your paradigms. If so please feel free to tell me in the comments below. We post daily encouragements to go along with this post each day on Instagram and Facebook. If you'd like to follow along then make sure you're following us.
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Be blessed & be kind this week you guys.