For over a decade I have worked in the social service field. A recurring theme among the cases that I work with is absent fathers. Children are being raised by single moms, the father long out of the picture. Sometimes a dad will show up at court, but usually because rights are going to be terminated and he wants to try to stop the proceeding. Other times the father is in the picture, but he is neglectful or abusive, creating a level of trauma for the children that will leave scars – both physically and emotionally.
Perhaps you have your own story of absent fatherhood. Nearly 25 percent of American households are mother-only homes. Maybe your father has always been in your life but there are hurts from your childhood, even ones your dad is unaware of, that still stick with you today.
Because fathers are part of humanity, they are also prone to the sin nature we all possess. And with the high amount of fatherless children, many can get the distorted idea that all fathers are prone to this – even our heavenly Father. It can be difficult to believe that a God who calls Himself our Father could do any better than the actions of the dads we know. We project our hurt from our own fathers onto Him and assume the worst.
But our God can stand up to these allegations and is the perfect example of Fatherhood. Scripture is full of the promise of this. The following are just 4 of the ways that God is a good, good Father.
- His patience knows no end.
There are times that we may have felt like we have used up our dad’s patience and have gotten “on his last nerve.” Thankfully, we do not have to worry about this with our Heavenly Father. Psalm 103:17 says “from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children.” And Psalm 106:1 says “for he is good; his love endures forever.”
Not only does God’s patience and kindness never wear out, but God’s ability to forgive you never runs out either. We never have to worry about our Heavenly Father berating us with our past failings and mess-ups. Psalm 103:12 assures us “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
2. He loves you no matter what.
Some fathers cause their children to feel like they need to earn their father’s love and respect by accomplishing great things to make him proud. Thankfully, God is not a father like that. Romans 5:8 tells us that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
While we were still sinners, messing up and not measuring up. When we were still oblivious to Him and His love, God sent His Son to die in our place. This unconditional, sacrificial love is unlike anything you can experience on this earth. God is a Father who chose to love us and we didn’t do a thing to earn it.
3. He is always available.
God never has a bad day, is never in a sour mood, and is never too busy or distracted for His child. When you are in relationship with His Son, Christ Jesus, you have complete access to your Heavenly Father’s ear, His heart, His focused attention. Hebrews 4:16 tells us we can “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” In Zephaniah 3:17 we have the promise that “the Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
4. His discipline is for love and protection.
If you were disciplined out of anger and impatience, this one can be hard to understand. How can a loving God show discipline without also inflicting pain and suffering? In Proverbs 3:11-12 we are reminded: “do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”
Have you ever had a circumstance in life where God does not give you what you are asking for? Or a time when something you love is taken away? Because God’s ways are always perfect and He can see your entire life laid out before Him, we can trust that our Heavenly Father was either protecting you from something or disciplining you out of love, or both.
As we think on God as a father, in what areas of our life have we projected negative attributes from earthly fathers onto our Heavenly Father? Do we have hurt and scars from our own experience that is causing us to not completely trust God to be the perfect Father to us?
If you have a positive relationship with your dad, be sure to encourage him in his role, thanking him for the love and example he gave you. If you have pain from your dad, or your dad is no longer around, take your wounds to Jesus. Ask Him to redeem the scars and hurt, to turn the ashes of your past abuse into beauty for His glory. Take your doubts and hurts to the Heavenly Father, the One who is truly capable – and willing – to listen, heal, and restore.