“Some of you are fathers, and if your son asks you for some fish,
would you give him a snake instead, or if he asks you for an egg,
would you make him a present of a scorpion?
So, if you, for all your evil, know how to give good things to your children,
how much more likely is it that your Heavenly Father
will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13)
It does seem to be “in vogue,” when God is brought up in everyday conversation, to make the assertion that: Well, if so-and-so had a Bad Dad, it stands to reason their view of God will be skewed.
I’m not suggesting that this is altogether untrue – but I do think it’s been overstated and become a convenient excuse. Because there are many who have “good” dads by the world’s standards whose views of God are still, nevertheless, all messed up. Why? Because even the BEST of dads in this life is still a SINFUL man.
This isn’t bad news, really – because there is a Savior! In fact, this could be very GOOD news! Because if sinful, earthly fathers know how to give good gifts to their children, how much MORE will our Heavenly Father who is PERFECT give good gifts, and give the Holy Spirit to those who ask of him?
In the Bible, God does identify himself as a FATHER – and through Jesus, he tells US to call him Father (Matthew 6:9, Romans 8:14-16); and it is through our identification with Jesus – the only begotten son of God – that we are also given the right to become the sons of God (John 1:12-14, 1 John 3:1-3)!
He ADOPTS us (Galatians 4:1-7), makes us his very own, with all the “rights and privileges” of sonship! (And I mean, here, both male and female “sons” in the spiritual sense – In this case, this isn’t a matter of gender, but of spiritual inheritance! Just look at what riches of God are ours if we are in Christ, such as in Ephesians 1, or 1 Peter 1, or Romans 8!)
Two Sons, Two Testimonies:
I heard the testimony of one man, recently, whose father had abandoned him and his mother when he was still very young. He recounted a life that was always fighting for that “father-acceptance,” and how he unknowingly made decision after decision in search of that relationship, only to end up a bully, a drug pusher, and eventually in prison. In the interview, he read from a poem he’d written about his dad whom he never knew, and got teary-eyed and his voice choked as he described wishing he’d known the man, even though he was flawed and imperfect, because to have known an imperfect dad would be better than to not know him at all.
In another case, a man gave a testimony of his dad who had given lovingly of himself to care for their family, who worked hard to provide both for their needs and also to be there for them as their support and discipline. He was thankful for how his dad was a good example to him of God’s goodness, but he then built for himself a set of expectations, to feel like he’d really gotten his dad’s approval. As a result, he grew into a kind of perfectionist, and fell into a depression because he felt he could never live up to his father’s legacy, and it almost destroyed his marriage and relationships with his own children.
It was as if God had written out, in the lives of these two men, the same kind of story as we see in the parable of the so-called prodigal son – One son runs away and lives as if he has no father, and the other is left behind to work hard in the family business, “slaving” to try to please his father – both of these sons lose, in the process, what it means to simply have a relationship with their dad, which is all their dad wanted in the first place! If only they’d have looked to HIM instead of themselves and their own desires. (You can read this whole story in Luke 15:11-32.)
This story is also a revelation of the Father heart of God – who earnestly seeks for his children, who runs after them when they have gone astray, who embraces them and celebrates with the best of all he has when they return to him, and who says of them – that is, this is what our Heavenly Dad says of US if we have been united to Christ by his Spirit!: “THIS is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased! You are always with me, and all I have is yours!”
According to Jesus, because of sin, ALL of us had “bad dads.” Even the BEST of earthly fathers can only give us a mere taste of the grace that God wants to lavish on us so we can truly know him as he is. But this is good news! “Good” dads are only “good” by the grace of God, and “Bad” dads can be MADE “good” by the grace of God! Because HE is ultimately the only Good Father.
Is God Your Father?
If you haven’t yet run to God as your Father, if you don’t know what it’s like to have him embrace you and “rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17), if you haven’t yet had your whole “evil” life made new and cleansed because of the price Jesus paid by his own blood so you could call God your Father? Would you ask him, right now, to reveal himself to you? Would you ask him, right now, to shine the light of his presence into your heart, to show you his loving, Father’s heart towards you in Jesus?
Scripture says we must believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths (that means to “speak in agreement with God”) that Jesus is Lord, and we will receive the full embrace of our Heavenly Father in salvation by the power of his Holy Spirit! The miracle of new life – and a forever relationship! – in just a moment!
Thank you, Father, that you hear
and answer from heaven when we call on you!
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)