"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" Matthew 7:11 (NIV)
"I love watching her dance."
I heard the catch in his voice, standing there at his daughter's senior dance concert. We both knew these days of high school were coming to a close, and I knew how much our friend would miss them.
John's pleasure in his daughter was evident. He was enthusiastic about everything connected with her dancing, from the practices to fundraising events to ticket sales at the concerts. He even seemed to enjoy the parts that most parents dislike, but because it was for his daughter, John was all in.
My father-experience was quite different. Dance wasn't my thing, but singing was. From age 8 until just a few years ago, I was always involved with some kind of chorus, choir or band. And not once did my father hear me sing while he was alive.
To me it was normal to only have a mother in the audience. I guess I assumed men didn't enjoy those types of "girl" events. But watching John these past few years has given me a different perspective on a father's interest in his daughter.
Standing there at that concert, I could almost hear God's voice speaking about His pleasure in watching His daughters. And my heart overflowed in thanksgiving for a good Heavenly Father.
For so many years I defined my understanding of God's interest in me based on my father's interest in me. I knew my dad loved me, but it was limited by his background and personal experience. But God's love is unhindered by any human experience or limitation.
Every day I come to a greater understanding of God as the perfect Father. It makes me feel treasured and softens the pain of what I didn't have growing up. As I've sought to understand what a good Father is like, here are five things I've discovered in Scripture we can count on about our Heavenly Father:
1. He cares for and provides for our daily needs. In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus vividly described to His disciples how God cares for the birds and the flowers and explained we are far more important to our heavenly Father than that. God cares about all our needs.
2. He's merciful toward us. Mercy is withholding punishment for what we deserve. Although God allows natural consequences when we make wrong choices, our Heavenly Father shows lovingkindness rather than anger when we fall short. (Luke 6:36)
3. God hears our prayers and answers them. In Matthew 18:20, Jesus makes an incredible statement that shows God's heart. He says when two or more agree upon something in prayer, God hears and answers.
4. He protects us. In Matthew 26:53, Jesus said His Father would send 12 legions of angels to save Him if Jesus asked. Psalm 91 says, "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways" (Psalm 91:11, NIV).
5. God watches and waits for us when we turn from Him. Jesus told a story that modeled the Father's heart for us. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the son decides to go his own way and squander his inheritance. When his life fell apart, the son realized his folly and returned home. Jesus described the father's response, and it wasn't "I told you so!" Rather God's Word tells us that "while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him" (Luke 15:20b, ESV). Then the father threw a party! Imagine!
No matter our situation with our earthly father, we can say with confidence we have a good heavenly Father who loves us with attentive devotion. He's all in, and we never outgrow His care and provision.
So this Father's Day, as we honor our earthly fathers, may we take some time to honor our heavenly Father. And I hope you hear Him whisper, "I love to watch you dance."
Heavenly Father, my heart is full of love for You. Thank You for showing Your love for me in so many ways. I confess I haven't always trusted Your love based on my earthly experience. But I want to experience You in greater ways every day. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 64:8, "Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." (NIV)
Matthew 13:43, "Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear." (NIV)
Do you long to know God more as a Father? If so, reading His Word will help you know His heart. Our new ESV Journaling Bible
lets you track your thoughts as you learn.
Visit Glynnis Whitwer's blog
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What characteristics of earthly fathers have you assigned to your Heavenly Father?
Knowing you have a Father who wants to bring you good things, what would you like to ask your heavenly Father for today?
© 2016 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.