Father love

The father of an elderly friend of mine abandoned his family when my friend was still in elementary school.

Another friend’s dad was an alcoholic and let his young son sit alone in a truck for hours while the father drank in a pub. At home, he was abusive.

Still another acquaintance told me years ago that he had trouble seeing God as father because of his own experiences of an abusive dad.

It’s a common story today and Christian ministries are increasingly dealing with this obstacle to faith and trust in God.

I had a good father who cared for me and took an interest in me as I grew up.  So, I acknowledge that I don’t know what life was like for these friends of mine.

But it grieves me that people’s lives can be destroyed by something like parental abuse.

I am thankful, though, that many believers have found healing and hope in God.

One approach, of course, is to recognize that God is father of all those who follow him.  His love relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit is exactly what he is seeking with each of us as believers.

Jesus told a wonderful story – often labelled “The Prodigal Son”- to illustrate God’s father love for us.

In the story,  the youngest son in a rich family decides to leave home and asks his dad for his share of the inheritance.  So, off he goes to a distant land where he spends all his money on wild living.

He winds up destitute and starving.  Then, he remembers what it was like at home and decides to return, throw himself on his father’s mercy, and ask for a job as a mere servant.

As he approaches his home, his father, who has been keeping an eye out for him, sees him and runs – runs – to meet the young man.

Before his son can speak, the father hugs him and, rejoicing, he arranges for a party for the wayward son.

This is how God looks at us.  He is waiting for us to come back to him after wandering away.

He won’t abandon us as some earthly fathers have.  He will allow us to wander away as most of us occasionally do.  But he will welcome us back with joy when we return.

No earthly father can match God in fatherly love.

We find healing for our past hurts when we give them all to God and put our faith in his never-ending love.

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