Matthew 6:9 – After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (KJV)
It was Christmas. The family had gathered for the usual roast goose dinner. A spanking white table cloth and dishes graced the table in readiness for a fine meal. The youngest child, a four-year-old girl, sensed the warmth of the occasion as her uncle and father chatted and visited together. She wanted to feel included, so she went to her father and climbed up on his lap. The father ignored her. He didn't seem to notice her presence, so she slid back off his knees and went on to other activities. In later years, this small incident became symbolic of how she viewed her father. She saw him as generally uninvolved in her life and without affection for her. She didn't know how he felt about her.
In sharp contrast is the parenting style Corrie ten Boom describes in her book, In My Father's House. She writes:
- Every night I would go to the door of my room in my nightie and call out, "Papa, I'm ready for bed." He would come to my room and pray with me before I went to sleep. I can remember that he always took time with us, and he would tuck the blankets around my shoulders very carefully, with his own characteristic precision. Then he would put his hand gently on my face and say, "Sleep well, Corrie … I love you." (p. 58)
Some of us had fathers who were affectionate, loving, and caring. They watched over us, provided for us, were interested in us, spent time with us, and guided us from birth. They gave us a sense of security and safety. Others of us had fathers who seemed emotionally distant and didn't appear either very interested in us or loving in their ways.
The word "father" is important when we think about how it may affect our relationship with God, our heavenly Father. When we have human fathers similar to Corrie's, we may link that loving fatherly relationship to God. We may think, "My earthly father is loving, so that must be how my heavenly Father is."
But when we have been raised by an unaffectionate, uninvolved father, we may unconsciously receive the idea that this is how all fathers are. Therefore, this, then, must be how God, our heavenly Father, is. As we learn about God, our heavenly Father, it may become hard for us to believe in our hearts that He loves and cares about us. Our heavenly Father may seem uninvolved and distant. The word "father" may have become an unconscious stumbling block to our relationship with Him.
Through Jesus, God bridges the gap between the distant earthly father and Himself. Knowing our sinful nature and our wounded hearts, God wanted to reveal His mercy and His love for each one of us in a way that would be clear. God had a plan to reconcile us to Himself so that we would know that He really loves us just as we are. God came to us in human form, in the person of Jesus Christ. Because He loves each one of us enough to die for us, we are assured of His love. "For God so loved the world (that's us) that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever (that's us again) believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV)
Because God came to us in Jesus Christ and gave Himself totally for us, we can believe that He truly loves, forgives, and cares for us. God has revealed through Christ that He is the kind of Father that our inner child craves for.
We can pray to God, our Father, as One who is close to us and keeps us secure in the arms of His love. Whatever ills come our way, we can never be separated from God's love.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You that coming to us in Jesus, You opened the path for us to come to You and know You as a Father of such grace and mercy. Thank You for truly loving us, watching over us, and helping us through all the days of our lives. Amen.
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