Do you ever wonder if God is like your dad? If your relationship with your biological father was a total disaster, you likely have a distorted view of God. It may be hard for you to imagine that He really loves you. Let me assure you that knowing God as a loving father is possible. He is not like your dad.
How is God different from our dads?
Does knowing God as a loving father seem impossible?
God is not like your earthly father. This is important to know if you had a less-than-perfect relationship with your dad. It is unfortunate that our earthly fathers affect our perceptions of God.
“How tragic that such a beautiful facet of God’s character — that He is not a distant, impersonal ruler, but a warm and welcoming papa — is often tainted by the weaknesses of human fathers!” (Vance Fry, Focus on the Family, May 6, 2016)
It is extremely important to get to know God, the God of the Bible, not the God of our perceptions.
- If your dad was stern and strict, you probably see God as a harsh disciplinarian.
- If your dad was absent most of the time, you probably see God as distant and uninterested in you.
- If your dad abandoned your family, you may fear that God will abandon you also.
There are many other ways that your earthly father affects your views of God. Let me assure you that all of the distorted perceptions are wrong.
You are adored by our creator, and knowing God as a loving father is possible.
Characteristics of God as a father
“The essence of fatherhood is found in God, not in human beings.” (Pastor Gene Veith, Concordia Theological Seminary)
The role of fathers is to protect, teach, nurture, provide for, and enjoy their children. There are many Bible verses about knowing God as a loving father. Here are some of them.
1. God the father protects His children
When we are born, we are totally dependent and helpless. Without protection, we would not survive. This is also true spiritually. We are helpless apart from God.
“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. ” (These are God’s words as written by David in Psalm 91:14-15, ESV)
Did you notice the conditions? God doesn’t protect everyone. He protects those who love Him and know His name. When we are His children, we have this mindset. Do you know Him personally?
2. God the father teaches and nurtures His children
Children need someone to help them learn how life works. Education, whether formal or informal, takes up most of the first 20 or so years of our lives. God is the best teacher of all. He deserves the teacher of the year award every year!
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (This is Jesus speaking in John 14:26 ESV)
God teaches us through the Bible. He also uses other people and His creation for our education.
3. God the father provides for His children
Jehovah-Jireh is one of the names of God and means “the Lord will provide”.
The fact that we are alive is a testimony to the many physical provisions that God has given to us. We are blessed with shelter, food, water, air to breathe, clothing and so much more. He has also given us people to help us receive His physical gifts. Those people could be parents, God-parents, adoptive parents, foster parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles, or an orphanage. Regardless of who brought these provisions into our lives, ultimately, they come from God.
4. God the father enjoys His children
One of the things that fathers do when they enjoy their children is to give them gifts. But not just any gifts. A good father knows what his kids like and finds a way to provide some of those things. All good things are gifts from our heavenly Father. (James 1:17)
Probably one of the sweetest gifts that God has given to me was when I was single again and dreading Valentine’s Day. You see, I love all the flowers and hearts and knew those were things I would not receive. Much to my surprise, just before Valentine’s day, we had baby goats born. One of them had the shape of a heart on its back in darker-colored hair. Then the morning of Valentine’s Day, when I walked out of my little cottage, the pansies had started to bloom even though it was winter.
Why does God do things like this? Because He delights in us, which is another way of saying He enjoys His children. (Psalm 149:4, 147:11, 18:19, and more.)
How is God a loving father?
If your dad was not loving, it may be hard to understand that God loves you. Even dads who protect, teach, and provide for their children may not necessarily enjoy them. They also may not communicate love in a way that their children understand. But God is different.
1. God wants the best for us and nudges us in that direction. Yet He remembers that we have limitations and often don’t meet his standards. He knows our desires and is pleased when we are trying to respond in the right way, even when we don’t accomplish it.
2. El Roi is another name for God and means the God who sees. God is our biggest fan. He listens, watches, and is thrilled when we want His attention. He also is well aware of the times when friends and family are not on our side. He is a God of comfort. (Genesis 16:13, 1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 23:4, 2 Corinthians 1:4)
3. Emmanuel means God is with us. It doesn’t matter what we may be facing, He is by our sides every second when we put our trust in Him. He will not leave us or abandon us. (Isaiah 7:4, Matthew 1:23, and more.)
4. God is Faithful. Most of us have known some disappointment as children. Even the best of fathers have had something come up that took the place of taking their child somewhere fun. Let me assure you that when God makes promises, they are never broken. Never. He keeps His promises. (Deuteronomy 7:9, 2 Timothy 2:13, 2 Thessalonians 3:3, 1 Corinthians 1:9, and more.)
Knowing God as a loving father
The first step to knowing God as a loving father is through a personal relationship with Jesus. If you have questions or would like to speak to someone about this most important decision, you can call or text 1-888-NEED HIM. You can also “chat” at chataboutJesus.com. Someone is waiting there to talk to you.
Second, you need to get to know God. You do this through Bible reading, prayer, spending time with others who love Jesus, and by listening to music and reading that tells the truth about life and about God.
Social media, news, soap operas, movies, and secular music rarely tell us what we need to hear. They don’t usually talk about knowing God as a loving father.
These are, however, a couple of Christian songs that do tell us about God being a loving father. You can listen to them here:
Run to the Father, by Cody Carnes.
Good, Good Father, by Chris Tomlin.
A gift for knowing God as a loving father
As you are reading your Bible and other encouraging books, I want you to have these bookmarks as reminders that God is a loving Father. No email is required. Just download them.
You also are welcome to download June’s Daily Portion. It is a free printable Bible Reading Plan. The theme is “Run to the Father”.
For those who like to color, and want more daily reminders of knowing God as a loving Father, there is a 19-page Bible verse coloring book available that is a companion to this article.
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