FathersLove
In the first post on the Father’s love I introduced both the challenge and the importance of seeing God the Father as loving. As we meditate on the biblical truths of the depths of his love and begin resting in that love we will be refreshed with newfound freedom and security to keep drawing near. Therefore, thinking rightly of God our Father is not just a matter of having our theological ducks in a row but it’s a game changer in living the Christian life. We will consider seven NT examples of how God puts his love on display for us, wanting us to know about it and be wrapped up in it.

1) The Father’s love for us is nowhere more clearly seen than in the sending of his only Son—freely, unprompted, undeservedly—to reconcile us back to himself.

2) The Father’s love for us is seen in that Jesus is sent to reveal the Father to us. The Father desires to be known and understood.

3) God the Father’s love can be seen in the friendly and familial vocabulary describing a believer’s relationship with God. He is not only our God, he is our Father.</

4) The Father expresses his love in the comfort he gives, and even in the fact he calls us to find our comfort in his fatherly embrace. It’s a picture I’ve seen one hundred different ways and yet it’s always the same: a small son or daughter running into the outstretched arms of their dad. Whether a child is hurt or afraid there is nothing they so desperately seek than the comfort of a father. Unfortunately, because of the brokenness of our world, there are all too many kids without dads and so their experience is the unmet need of a father’s presence. But, God’s promise is to be a father to the fatherless as we’re made children of God through Christ (Ps. 68:5). Mothers and fathers are equally important despite their differences—and I think both embody different attributes of God—but a father gives a sense of protection, safety, and security in his embrace. If fathers limited in their power and hindered by their shortcomings can provide such things just imagine what the presence of a Father without any weakness, able to be always and everywhere present, boundless in power and the ability to protect, and perfect in love might offer to his children.

God’s love to us is shown in the many ways he’s acted graciously to us and offered mercy, but the uniqueness of comforting-love expresses the fatherliness of God. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3). It’s a different nuance than comfort, but in Romans 15:5 Paul also calls him the God of encouragement. God the Father comforts and encourages his children in a tender and caring love. He does not turn them away or pile up heavy discouragements on their backs. Do we think of him in such gentle terms?

In the Old Testament, God offers many words of comfort to his often broken-hearted people (Is. 40:1; 66:13). One morsel given to Israel was this: “I, I am he who comforts you” (Is. 51:12). In the midst of Israel’s exile and the hope of deliverance God promises that he will be their comfort. Life offers many moments of tragedy and pain, even more occasions for frustration and disappointment. Although we do our best to appear outwardly strong and having it all-together, even as adults we are frail children ready to crumble at any moment. We feel scared, unsure, hurt, confused, and often alone. There are answers to questions and explanations to life’s hardships in the Bible, but more often than not those don’t give real comfort. But, God himself does comfort us. The discomforts in this world are no match for the comforts of our Father. He wraps his strong but soothing arms around us. His presence can fill the gap where we feel lost or alone. Richard Sibbes encourages humbled Christians—bruised reeds—that “[the Father’s] presence makes any condition comfortable,” [1] meaning that his presence brings comfort to the most unpleasant of circumstances.

We should ask for and look for the comfort from our Father. He longs to see us return to home and when he looks out his window and sees us from afar he will run to us (Luke 15). The comfort of the Father never goes away. It is not wearied or exhausted by our sins and it isn’t given because we’ve earned. The Father comforts because he is the God of comfort. His love is seen both in the act and in the warm heart that calls us to come to him to receive it. In our mind’s eye we see God with arms crossed ready to criticize or condemn, but God himself assures us that he stands with arms opened ready to welcome and console us. May our meditations on the truths of who God is change the relationship we experience in who God is to us and for us.

[1] Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed (Carlisle: Banner of Truth, Reprinted 2008), 9.

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