Welcome! In this post, in this blog series we’re calling “Journey Together,” we reflect on the relevance of God, our loving Father.
A Father’s Presence Matters
Many people would agree that Will Smith made his career through his great performance in the old TV show Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, a sitcom in which Will plays a fictionalized younger version of himself as a poor boy from Philadelphia who moved in with his rich aunt and uncle in Bel-Air.
Many also would say that Will’s greatest performance in Fresh Prince was that poignant father scene. If you viewed that scene, you know what I’m talking about. In that episode, Will’s biological father pays him a visit after abandoning the family 14 years earlier. He promises to take Will on a nice father-son trip — but cancels at the last minute.
Will is heartbroken, though he manages to hold himself together as he watches his father walk out the door — and out of his life. He tries to shake off the pain with the help of his sympathetic uncle, but the pressure on his heart expresses itself first in raging anger, then tears. “How come he don’t want me, man?” asks Will as his uncle pulls him into a tight bear hug and they cry together. The typically funny sitcom dove into the painful.
This certainly isn’t the only tv/film scene featuring an emotionally gripping “father moment.” How many movies can you think of where the protagonist has a tenuous relationship with his or her father? The darkest moment in these films tends to be when the father rejects his son or daughter. And the brightest moment is when the father returns and restores the relationship.
Fathers. Their existence (or non-existence) in our lives burrows deep, affecting our very soul. Those of us who grew up with absent fathers often struggle with belonging. Those who grew up with abusive fathers often struggle with passivity. Those who grew up with unloving fathers often struggle with acceptance. These are all overly-simplistic generalizations, but fathers matter. We can all attest to the truth of this statement, based on our own personal experience. A father is critically relevant to a child.
[bctt tweet=”Isn’t it interesting that in the Bible, the God of heaven and earth, infinitely powerful, all-knowing and perfectly holy, addresses Himself as our Father? ” username=”@josh_mcdowell”]
God: Our Relevant Father
It isn’t an accident that God calls Himself our Father. He presents Himself to us in the most tender way, holding us in love from that deep place in our soul. He is never an absent father. He is never an abusive father. He is never an unloving father. God is the father who sees us, knows us, and understands us. He loves our personalities and desires to be us with. Let’s be honest: our hearts cry out for this full acceptance. God is so relevant to our life!
I don’t mean to suggest that our Heavenly Father makes our earthly father irrelevant or unimportant. Or that God is the instant cure-all for any father wounds we experience as we grow up. My point is that the relationship God offers to each of us goes deep, to our very core. It’s not superficial, conditional, or fleeting. It can meet the needs of every person, in every culture, because God completely knows us.
God is with us when no one else is. He loves us when no one else does. He makes Himself present in our lives and in the lives of our fellow brothers and sisters as we gather together. We don’t need to have our act together before coming to God. I’m telling you: the God of this universe is a good Father!
Right here, right now, and in Heaven, where we’ll be with Him in person. Heaven, by the way, is not about strumming on a harp, or enjoying a bunch of virgins, or even governing our own planet. It’s not about escaping desire, or becoming part of the cosmos, or enjoying an endless all-we-can-eat ice cream buffet without bellyache.
Heaven is about our one-on-one relationship with God! Revelation 21:4 says that In Heaven every tear will be wiped from our eyes. That’s beautiful, but not the real beauty of Heaven. The real beauty of Heaven is that Él will be the one wiping away our tears!
“How come he don’t want me, man?” isn’t a question we can ever ask about God. He wants us fiercely, wholly, and unconditionally. Let’s run to that love! Oh, that our entire world would long for and come to know our amazing, utterly relevant Father.
View or download Josh’s The Father Factor, 25 years of compiled research documenting the impact fathers have on their families.
In our next blog post, let’s look more at how our self-image is affected by our relationships.
Catch up: The introductory post to this series.