God reveals Himself as a Father. When we read the Old Testament, we find very few references to this at all. But it is quite blatant and rampant throughout all of the New Testament that we worship God the Father. This is one of the most difficult subjects to write or speak about. One of the reasons is our lack of good fathers (let alone the mass of single mothers) that we have in our generation. To talk about God as Father seems to be a shot in the foot. Few in this culture desire God to be their Father. It is easy to call Him Lord, and even Savior, but to call Him Father is something else entirely.
The question is this: How has God revealed Himself? We do not dare to characterize God the Father as the fathers that we’ve seen and experienced. Our understanding of God as Father must come exclusively from a Biblical basis. If we use even the realm of philosophy, we impose upon God instead of rely upon Him. From New Testament revelation, God the Father did nothing without thinking about the benefit of His Son Jesus. Jesus did nothing that would not bring glory to God the Father. They both reciprocate the same esteem for one another, but in two different and distinct ways. The Father wants nothing more than to bring honor to His Son and set Him up to benefit in all things; the Son wants nothing more than to glorify His Father by repeating that which He sees His Father do and say.
We are confronted immediately with a challenge. How many of us don’t trust that our own fathers are looking out for our ultimate benefit instead of desiring blockage or hindrance? How many of us don’t trust that our own fathers are only looking to bring us honor instead of humiliation? It is a hard thing to hear. Because of our lack of being true sons or daughters with maturity, we cannot perceive how good or bad our fathers are. This hinders us in our relationship to God as Father. It is true that some of us, and maybe more than I know, don’t have fathers. We have someone that has raised us, but that in no way is the definition of a father. Yet, I still stand by saying we can only recognize the aspect of fatherhood to the degree that we have attained to being a son or daughter.
This is not to say that we cannot understand God’s love as a Father. Our immaturity might actually be the saving grace to realize God’s love. Though the idea of a father in our sphere and culture seems to indicate many negative conceptions, the promotion of God as Father seems to be found all the more tantalizing in that we see His relationship to Jesus. The Father promoted Jesus. There was nothing of even a hint that God the Father spoke ill.
Many times we think in our culture of parents as being humiliating. They are an embarrassment. Not only that, but it seems like they desire to be an embarrassment. This is what is promoted by society. Yet, when we speak of God the Father, we are speaking of something else entirely. When God sends rebuke and harsh words through the prophets, we need to understand that God was not being scandalous. He was not rebuking and flaunting among the nations. God sent the prophets to Israel, and the other nations were not gossiped to about His children. In all aspects, God was speaking these harsh words to cause His son, Israel, to come back to Him. It is not the Father despising or embarrassing His son, but instead the parable of the prodigal.
How many of us truly believe that God is out for our ultimate good? How many of us are able to whole-heartedly believe that God as Father means that His greatest desire is to see us successful? And what is success in His eyes? I believe that success in His eyes would be from the realm of eternity. What is it to us (or Him) if we struggle through this life to gain the greater glory? God’s desire is that we would come to full maturity in Him. He desires that we would be able to experience Him unadulterated. When we have been brought into a place of being sons and daughters, and not simply children, we have been brought into a place where we can fully enjoy the Father.
It is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 1:3 that God is “the Father of all comfort.” What must it be that would cause us to understand that God is not the father who tries to live his dreams through his children? What must it be that would cause us to understand that God is not the father that mistreats and abuses his children? What must it be that would cause us to understand that God is not the father that would provoke his children to anger? Paul calls Him the God of all Comfort – the Father of all comfort.
Paul told us in Romans 5 “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame.” Why is this the case? On what basis does Paul come to this kind of a conclusion? For the longest time I would read this and love the quote, but completely be at a loss as to how it is true. It all comes together in that God is a father. Do you believe that? Do you believe that He has the ultimate understanding and that He desires your ultimate good? Do you believe that God desires to honor you instead of humiliate you? When you wrestle with this belief in God, you find yourself coming into greater and greater degrees of obedience and trust to His cosmic and eternal purposes.