“You Christians always talk about God being like a father, but what does that mean?” her eyes searched mine, but they weren’t accusing. Just questioning. “What does it mean if someone is like a father?”
My heart broke.
While my earthly father is far from perfect, I never had the struggle of not knowing what a father is supposed to be like – the very struggle the girl sitting in front of me had. Praying a quick prayer for help, I started explaining what it means to me that God is my Father.
Long after the conversation ended the question was still swirling in my head. What do we mean when we say that God is like a father?
Over the next few days, I asked some of my friends how they would answer that question. I saw that God being like a father means different things to different people. But some common points stood out to me.
God the Father in Scripture
During the time of Jesus’ life, the Jews saw God as the ultimate form of holiness, which is correct. God is holy. However, many also saw Him as Someone Who stood far away and only punished them. They had such reverence for Him, that they didn’t even dare to say Yahweh (YHWH), the Name of God, out loud.
You can imagine their shock when Jesus called God His Father and instructed them to as well in the Lord’s Prayer. “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name.’” (Matthew 6:9)
The interesting thing is that the word used there, patér, which we always translate as “father” actually has a really personal connotation, more along the lines of “daddy.” God doesn’t want to be Someone standing far away in the distance. He wants to have a personal relationship with you. He wants to be your “Daddy.”
So, what is this “Daddy” like?
The Father I Can Always Go To
This was the first thing I thought of and told the sweet girl sitting on the chair beside me. Because God is my Father, I can always come to Him with anything that’s on my heart: joys, sorrows, requests, thanks. Because God is my Father, I have access to His throne room at all times.
When I addressed this question with some of my friends, one of them said something similar. As a child, he’d go to his daddy whenever he had a problem, like a toy car that had to be fixed. Similarly, we can always go to our Heavenly Father, knowing He has a solution to the problem. If it’s for our best, He will “fix” it or He will hold our hand and guide us through it.
The Father I Can Trust
While sitting around a table and talking about this topic with friends, I suddenly had the picture of a little child jumping into their daddy’s arms. Without much warning, the child may yell, “Daddy, catch me!” then jump. No hesitation. No holding back. Directly into their father’s arms.Young children don’t know that trust can be broken. They don’t know that their father might not catch them. They just jump, believing that their father is completely trustworthy. Click To Tweet
Young children don’t know that trust can be broken. They don’t know that their father might not catch them. They just jump, believing that their father is completely trustworthy.
Even though earthly fathers might not always catch their children, we can trust that God always does and always will. Trust is built in situations where the one we want to trust is proven to be trustworthy. God is fully trustworthy. I can shout, “Daddy, catch me!” and He will.
The Father Who Wants What’s Best for Me
Something that came up in a conversation with a friend was the aspect of obedience. Since God is a Father to us, we must obey Him. However, unlike earthly fathers, we know that everything He tells us to do is good for us. Click To Tweet Since God is a Father to us, we must obey Him. However, unlike earthly fathers, we know that everything He tells us to do is good for us. God gives us rules as boundaries in the knowledge of what’s best for us, because He loves us.
It can be our joy and honor to obey our Heavenly Father. As the old hymn says, “Trust and obey // for there’s no other way // to be happy in Jesus // but to trust and obey.” Why? Because He wants our best and if we obey Him, our life will go best. His plan is the safest place to be, even surrounded by difficulties.
God, My Father
Those are the three biggest aspects that stood out to me: God is the Father I can always go to and always trust. Additionally, I know that He always wants what’s best for me. Everything He does is done out of love. What an amazing “Daddy” He is!
Tell me below: What does it mean for you that God is like a father, a “daddy”?