Since we celebrated Father’s Day yesterday, I wanted to write some encouragement to the fathers in my life as well as anyone who has struggled with the “father figure” in their life.
If you missed (or would like a refresher) on what I wrote for Mother’s Day, I’m going to be be building off of that same foundation. You can check out my post on that at this link: Mothers: Reflecting God’s Image.
Mother’s Day Recap
God Is Seen In Every Person And Position and it is important to realize that God is revealing different parts of His character and giving us different ways to relate to Him when He compares Himself to a king, a mother, a shepherd, or even a father.
Unfortunately, We (As Examples Of God) Are Broken And Imperfect and that means that regardless of how “good” of an example we have in those ways, we do not know of a single perfect example besides God Himself – and this includes the father’s we’ve known.
Regardless of the Examples We’ve Seen (Good or Bad), God Desires All Of Them to Point to Him and His Perfection, which brings us to the context of Father’s Day.
(again, you can check out my Mothers: Reflecting God’s Image post for more details on the above points).
Fatherhood Displayed In Today’s Culture
Out of all the analogies the Bible uses to explain God’s relationship to us, God as our “Heavenly Father” is one of the most common, and I believe holds a special place in the Bible.
We read that even Jesus Himself taught us to relate to God as “our Father Who is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9) which can be difficult for many of us to understand and appreciate in today’s culture.
Unfortunately, fathers have become the ridicule of movies, TV shows, and general storytelling. Fathers are generally shown to be absent, overly harsh, or completely incompetent – and these descriptions sadly represent what many have personally experienced.
Because of these poor examples, we have become completely ignorant of what a “God Who is our Father” is like – and what our own fathers ought to be like.
Our Heavenly (And Perfect) Father
Whether you are a father, or want to be able to see God’s Fatherhood in your life more clearly, the Bible is always the best place to go. Below is a small list of attributes that tells us how God displays His Fatherhood in our lives.
“Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.” – Psalm 68:5
“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.” – Psalm 103:13
“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” – Proverbs 3:11–12
“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” – Isaiah 64:8
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” – Matthew 7:7–11
“And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.’” – Hebrews 12:5–6
God is our perfect Father…
The Standard For Fatherhood Has Been Set (And Unmet)
As a father of two, I can tell you that I fall short of God’s fatherly perfection, as described above, on a daily basis.
And if you too look at the list above and feel completely lacking or insufficient, that’s completely normal and even good. When comparing ourselves to God, we should see areas we lack and come up short.
But it shouldn’t leave us there.
The Bible continually tells us to strive for perfection, to be Holy as God is Holy and to live up to the standards we were created to be like… But we simply can’t on our own.
As Paul explains in the book of Romans, the law (the revealing of God’s standard of perfection) was NOT created so we could pull ourselves up to God’s level: to try harder and do better. No, God’s perfect standard was revealed to show us our imperfection and that we need Him.
So, where does that leave us?
Well, if you recognize your lack, it should point you to God, to ask for His help.
The Redeemer Of Imperfections
I don’t want anyone reading this to reflect on their imperfections and to feel like they’ve done, or experienced, irreversible damage.
Fortunately, God offers grace to cover all of our shortcomings: including in fatherhood.
We have all seen kids grow up incredibly well in spite of poor father figures and this should bring us comfort knowing that God can redeem any failings we have. Whether as the father, or as the child: God is our heavenly Father who brings beauty from ashes.
I hope that seeing God’s perfection in Fatherhood would serve you as a reminder that since we have imperfections, we ought to seek God for Him to make us into fathers more like Himself and to provide grace in our shortcomings.
The Ultimate Goal of Fatherhood (And Their Children)
Regardless of how well you parent or experienced parenting, there is certainly one thing that cannot be missed:
None of it has any eternal value without Jesus.
As a father, I know I have (and will) mess up.
Sometimes in small ways, other times in big ways.
But I also know my goal as a parent:
That, even in my imperfections In my struggles In my repentance In my words In my prayers In my actions In my life
That I would point my kids to Jesus and pray they follow Him as well.
And that is successful fatherhood.
Representing the loving God to your children But making it clear to them at the same time:
There is a Father Who is their truest and ultimate Father.
That, just as the sacrificial system in the Old Testament was a shadow and picture of Jesus Who is our perfect Savior, I want my fathering to them to be a shadow and picture of God who is their perfect Father.
That I am their father on earth But God is their Father in heaven.
I am their father temporarily But God is their Father for eternity.
That even in my imperfections They can look to their Heavenly Father Who is perfect.
Everything else is good.
To teach them how to live wisely, act kindly, work hard and enjoy life:
But to teach them Who God is and His love for them surpasses all those other things.
What To Do Now
Whether you have experienced a godly example for a father Or if you have even been one yourself,
We all can learn from our fathers.
Some good Some bad
But we can all take away that they are examples, guides, and shadows pointing to our heavenly Father Who is perfect.
So, celebrate Father’s Day.
For fathers, enjoy getting to be such an important example of God in your children’s lives, And be comforted in your shortcomings knowing that we are all imperfect, and rejoice knowing your (and your child’s) heavenly Father is truly perfect.
And for children (kids and adults) on this special day, take some time to enjoy your father, Thanking God for every part of them, And for giving a role in your life that was made to point you to God.