In just a few months my oldest son, Sullivan, will be two years old. He has brought so much joy, laughter, and many sleepless nights to my house in this short time. Although I haven’t been a dad for very long, it’s easy to see how this role so clearly mirrors my relationship with God, my Father. After all, this is the way God is described all throughout the Bible – as our Father.
Depending on your life, this father connection to God could be easy or difficult for you. However, the Bible gives us the characteristics of a perfect father. Here are three of my recent takeaways:
1. God is Patient
I’ve told my wife several times that dinner time with Sullivan is what my nightmares are made of. If you’ve never had to feed a one year old, then you don’t know the pain I speak of. Nothing has been more frustrating for me than feeding him pasta with marinara sauce. It always amazes me how quickly he manages to get sauce on his face, clothes, hair, and ears. Add on the battle of intentionally dropping food off his tray, and I’m ready to punch a hole through the wall.
All that frustration led me to a realization of how God probably feels with me sometimes. “I wonder how frustrating it is for God when I…” Fill in the blank with whatever it may be that day, but odds are it isn’t the first time I’ve done, said, or thought that thing. Man, how frustrating that must be for my Father who is trying to coach and correct me in the most loving way possible, yet I still seem to get messy and, sometimes, intentionally drop stuff.
I’m so thankful God is patient with me as I grow. I find it ironic, too, how quickly I get angry at a toddler for something so silly, yet God is so patient with me even though I’m an adult who’s been following Him for years. It makes me extremely thankful for truths like this:
Psalm 103:8 “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”
2. God is Forgiving
As sweet and fun as Sullivan is, he can still disobey at this young age. He knows he isn’t supposed to turn off his brother’s swing, dig in the trash, or play with our iPhones. Yet everyday he seems to continually return to those things as if he’s playing a game with us. I know he’s aware of his decisions because of the way he smiles and runs off laughing, knowing he’s disobeyed! I’m sure it will be the same in a few years, only instead of digging in the trash he’ll learn what it means to bend the truth from time to time.
It’s easy to say it now when he’s young, can barely run, and is so cute, but I can’t imagine ever finding myself in a situation where I won’t forgive him of something - big or small. In the same way, there is nothing I can do as a child of God that He won’t forgive me for. It’s hard to describe the feeling that comes with knowing that whatever situation I find myself in, God is there to welcome me home. Jesus described the way God forgives in the story of the Prodigal Son:
Luke 15:20 “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”
3. God is Loving
I could be wrong, but I think Sullivan is at the best age right now. He’s learning to speak words and trying to put phrases together, similar to the Boo stage from Monster’s Inc. He can (mostly) eat on his own. He’s able to run, play, scream, and laugh. He loves seeing friends, animals, and things in nature so he can point and (try) to say its name. I absolutely love this stage!
The more I think about it, though, I think it’s because he’s learning to do so many new things all the time. Things are developing so rapidly for him, and it seems as if every day when I come home he’s made new discoveries. I remember my mother-in-law saying to me after he was born, “You didn’t know you could love something so much, did you?” She’s so right. The joy he brings me and the love I have for him are sometimes hard to put into words.
The same is true with God! He is my biggest fan and cheerleader and wants the very best for me in every situation. He loves to see me joyful, laughing, and thriving in life. I believe it hurts Him when life is hurting for me, too. God empathizes with those He loves, and, of course, that includes His children:
1 John 3:1 “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!”
I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a dad. My goal is to be the best father possible for my kids so, when they see me, they’re reminded of their heavenly Father.
I hope these reminders for me have also reminded you how much your Father cares for and loves you as well.
Photo of Matt and Sullivan Weaver was taken by Kyle Seagraves. Used with permission.