Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a cool dad. Some have fathers that are demeaning, judgmental, abusive, hurtful, absent, vindictive, and all around jerks. These strained relationships make Father’s Day uncomfortable and awkward. They can also make a relationship with God very difficult.
One of the most commonly used names for God is Father. He is called “Heavenly Father,” some of us say the “Our Father” in church every week, and Jesus even uses the term Abba (which in Aramaic means “father”) when talking about God. This immediately conjures up images for some of fathers that were less than loving, understandably, and then we expect these individuals not to be afraid of God?
It’s easy for us to view fatherhood in the wrong direction. Often times we project the characteristics or experiences of our fathers onto God, which is inaccurate and incomplete. We say, “My dad was like this, so God must be like that.” That’s the wrong direction. Suggesting our Heavenly Father is like our earthly fathers will always shortchange God and leave us disappointed.
If we recognize that God is Love, we change the direction of how we understand fatherhood. No longer is God like your dad or my dad but instead we see the ways our fathers loved like God, or didn’t, and how God continues to love us perfectly, regardless. As a father myself, I realize the more I try to be like my Heavenly Father, the better father I become here and now.
May you know that your Heavenly Father loves you, has always loved you, and will continue to do so no matter what. Have a Happy Father’s Day, if for no other reason than that truth!