One of the greatest joys of my life is being a father. My soul soars when I talk about, think about and/or get to spend any time at all with my sons. I am the proudest dad on the planet. Today though – I can’t help but think about my heavenly Father. If you’re like me, it may be hard to think of a heavenly Father without seeing him through the lens of our earthly one. My earthly dad was a nice man, but not much of a father. He was not abusive or tyrannical, he just wasn’t around. He was absent. Divorced mom when I was in elementary school, moved away and, until later in his life, was mainly a voice on the phone a couple of times a year.
He said he loved me, but I guess I looked at his actions (or lack of them) and concluded that his love for me (and my brother) must not have meant too much to him. Then I met my heavenly Father. His Word said He loved me too. What was I to think? “Okay, sure – I’ve heard that before”. But this time it was different. This Father kept pursuing me, and showing me how much He loved me – just as I am.
He told me through those I loved. He spoke to me through family, friends, roommates, pastors – and then through my wife and children. He showed me in His Word and through talking with Him in the quiet moments of my days. I will share two stories that He used to pierce my doubting heart, and make His point in such as way that I will never question it again:
The prodigal son – You know the story from Luke 15, and I thought I did too. I had read it and heard it preached many times. One day God made me stop and ponder the response of the father in the story. He saw his son returning “from a long way off”, which means he was waiting and watching for him. He ran down the road to his son. He didn’t wait for his boy to come to him with his tail tucked between his legs.
Instead of scolding him, or expecting an apology, or waiting for explanations – he hugged him and kissed him repeatedly and I am sure tearfully. His heart was overwhelmed with love for his wayward son. He took him home, put his finest robe on his pig-smelling shoulders, gave him his family ring and threw him a lavish party. And this is a story Jesus told to illustrate in some small way how God views us, and how very much He loves us.
Well, I finally “got it”. I finally changed the pronoun from “us”, or “them” and replaced it with “me”. He loves “me”. He did all that for “me”. Even though I will never deserve it – He loves “me” that much. I have been overwhelmed ever since.
The other story God has used in my life to help me “see” His love, and overwhelm me with a “knowing” of His love for me is the amazing story of the Team Hoyt. If you have never seen this (or even if you have), please take a minute this Father’s Day to see an amazing representation of how much God loves you and is doing everything He can to demonstrate that love to you every single day. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flRvsO8m_KI
Whether you are a father or not, use this day to remind yourself of how very much your heavenly Father loves you, and remember that you don’t have to tap dance (perform) for Him. He loves you completely and unconditionally. There is nothing you can do to make Him love you any more than He already does.
Enjoy this Father’s Day guys – and let the Father’s love embrace you with fresh hope, life and joy.