I am a father. Around the time this article posts, my son will have turned one year old. My wife and I are very excited that we were able to keep this amazing human alive for one year, and we pray that he has many, many more years to come. When thinking about fatherhood, I never really thought about this phase. From constantly changing diapers and waking up in the middle of the night to a crying infant, to watching him grow and learn about the world around him, it has been a fascinating, humbling, and very tiring experience. But, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I remember when growing up, I used to watch TV shows such as "The Simpsons", "Family Matters," and "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air." I used to pay attention to those dads and father figures. In watching Homer Simpson, Carl Winslow and Phillip Banks, I used to think this is what a father was like: comedic, foolish, silly, but — at the end of the day — they sincerely loved their family. At other times, I would observe other TV dads being unfaithful, dishonest and selfish. As I read the Bible, I try very hard not to impose my current world views into what the text says. It would be very easy to hear the term “God the Father” and impose our earthly views onto Him, writing him off as a cosmic Uncle Phil; silly, a bit foolish at times, but a good dad overall.
When I read the Bible, I see a father in heaven that we all have, a father who loves us, a father who disciplines those whom He loves, and a father who is consistently there for us. I’m reminded of a passage in the book of Matthew where Jesus is talking to a crowd. Jesus says to them, “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). I see a father is who approachable, who is willing to listen, and a father who loves His creation.
I don’t know what relationship you have with your father or if there is a relationship at all, but I encourage you not to impose your experiences or expectations of what fatherhood should be like onto our heavenly father. In fact, He should be the standard that every father should be measured by. Our Father in heaven is loving and caring, He has plans for us that are good and not evil (Jeremiah 29:11), and — as you follow Him — He will always be there for you (Deuteronomy 31:6). If we have issues with our earthly fathers, we should know that we can always approach our heavenly father without shame, fear, or embarrassment. He accepts us just as we are and in whatever state our lives are currently in.
My dad is an amazing man, but he is not perfect. Believe me, no father on earth is perfect. But once we begin to have a relationship with our heavenly father — knowing that He is crazy about us — we can begin to show our earthly father’s grace and love, because — believe me — we need it.