When I was fourteen, my dad slapped me. I was mouthing off (there’s a surprise), and he was furious. So furious, he ran out of words.
My father loved me. He did. But the sting of that slap didn’t feel like love, not for a minute. Some of you know firsthand what I’m talking about, and your memories go much deeper and darker than one angry slap on an ordinary school night.
Still, as a twenty-something woman, the idea of God being my Father was a stumbling block for me. When I first read, “We have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it” (Hebrews 12:9), my face grew hot.
Respect wasn’t the word that came to mind.
Fear was what I felt. Anger. Resentment. And a deep sadness.
Those of us who’ve struggled with father issues are not alone. Melissa admits, “I grew up without a father as a consistent presence in my life. I couldn’t even imagine fatherly love. Then God reached out to me.”
Yes. That’s what the best of fathers do. They reach out to their children. “It’s the relationship He chooses to have with me,” Kathryn says. “I am His daughter and He is my Abba.”
This was a whole new concept for me—calling the Lord “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15). So personal, so trusting, especially using the tender, more familiar Aramaic word, Abba. Daddy.
Before my father left this world, we came to a place of peace about our relationship, and I’m grateful for that. If you had a wonderful relationship with your dad, praise God for that gift.
For all of us, our Heavenly Father is the true definition of fatherliness (yes, it really is a word), beautifully described by a Facebook sister named Robin:
“He is the Daddy I have longed for my whole life. He fills all my empty places with His love. He teaches me everything I need to know through His Word. He comforts me, letting me pour out my heart to Him. He never grows tired of my persistence or frustrated with my slowness. He is wise to discipline me when I need it. He is faithful to do what He promises, so I can totally trust Him. God is a good Father.”
Yes, He is good. In truth, the best. “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling” (Psalm 68:5).
Thank you, Lord, for giving us the privilege of calling you Father. Yes, even, Daddy. No earthly parent ever gets it all right. But You do. Your love surrounds us. Your discipline guides us. Your mercy redeems us. How blessed are we, to be your children!
Beloved, I hope you’ll share your thoughts about what His Fatherliness means to you. Blessings on your weekend!
Your sister, Liz