Summary: Sometimes it's good to remember that our God has a real Fatherly kind of love for us
Happy Father’s Day! This is my second Father’s Day, and I am have to report that not much has changed for me since last year, I still have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. I find myself apologizing to Killian often (I promise I will be better at this with your future siblings, sorry you are the guinea pig). But he won’t remember. And while this is no surprise to you, it has been a little bit of an eye opening experience for me. I’ll tell you why.
A few weeks ago, I found myself in a unique position, where I realized that my parents were a little worried about me. I won’t go into detail, but I found myself getting a little annoyed. “Mom, Dad, I’m 34 years old!” I thought to myself. I haven’t lived under your roof in a long time, and you raised me to be an independent thinker and on and on. This RARELY EVER happens with them and what it boiled down to is, “why are you worried? I’ll be fine! I’m OK.” I don’t know if you ever had any of these moments with your parents, I think we all do. I couldn’t understand WHY they were concerned about me like that. And then I got it, I began to understand a little better.
What made me understand was a realization I had with my own son. He is taking his sweet time with walking on his own, although I think we are knocking at the door of his first steps after this last week. But it was in this process of helping him walk that the lightbulb switched on for me. He was walking all over the house, holding onto one or two of my fingers, and having the time of his life. He thought he was a pretty cool and self sufficient dude, but I knew better. I knew that he needed me to be there to support him, and to keep him from falling. And I also realized that I will never forget those moments of teaching him to walk, and that Killian will never remember them. He won’t remember needing me like that. But for the rest of my life, my first instinct and reaction will be to try and support him, and keep him from falling. And presto-chango, I just turned into my parents. Amazing how that works, right?
All of us, at some level, can relate to what I experienced here, whether with your own kids, or with nieces and nephews, or whether it might be just a memory of relying on your own parents, we get it. But on this Father’s Day, the perspective that we might not think about much, is that God, “gets it” too. That God himself has the fatherly feelings, and instincts, and reactions to each and every one of us. That God feels a certain way about you, and has memories of you that you don’t even have yourself, and the he loves you so deeply, and is so concerned about you.
It comes through in places like Psalm 139 where David realizes the intimate relationship God has with him: “You created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb… My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.” God was full of love for David before David even knew what love was.
Another place we see this love expressed so beautifully is in the book of Hosea. He was one of the “minor” prophets (not the importance of their work, but the length – how politically incorrect, maybe today we would call Hosea an “efficient prophet” or something like that).
But Hosea is a challenging read, and the main message he carried to the people of Isreal was one of judgment of their unfaithfulness in the midst of God’s ever faithful, and unwaivering love. And the people were filling the bill of the “unfaithful” to God with a vengeance: “The people were not worshipping God, but were very dedicated to worshipping false idols. The people were not taking care of one another like you would expect from a Godly community, but rather they were extorting one another, and stealing from each other. Even the priests and kings were known for rampant unfaithfulness to God and disregarding his Word and Law. It was a horrible mess.
And in Hosea 11, one of the most powerful illustrations that God calls him to share with the people was the image of the Faithful and loving father who is rejected by his own children. And suddenly God’s horrible heartbreak comes into a different kind of focus for us, than maybe we are used to. God gets our attention in an intensely personal way. Listen to how he talks through Hosea: