An earthly father’s love prompts reflection on the immense love of a heavenly one
He was a very good man and loved my mother, my sister and me unconditionally. I was never close to him when I was growing up: He was a doer, and I was a reader. An amazing jack-of-all-trades, Dad could build or repair anything. He always invited me to work with him, but I was so disinterested in “projects” that I could not remember what steps he had just taken. He never lost patience with me, but soon he realized I was a hopeless case.
The memorable part of our relationship developed when I had a family of my own. We had given up on our political and religious conflicts. He was never strong-willed, but I was always trying to convince him to change politics or become more open to new ideas.
When we settled down to simple conversations about life and family, we enjoyed a wonderful camaraderie. Through all the years since his death, I have come to appreciate his devotion to family and to making the most of every minute of his life. I regret that I never told him how indebted I was to him for his selfless and endless work to provide his family what he never had.
Thinking about my earthly father fills me with love and admiration, and it is a short move to thinking about my heavenly father. Both gave me life — one physical and the other spiritual — that has enriched my existence.
Like my relationship with my dad, my relationship with my God has become stronger, more powerful as I have grown older and shed many of the concerns, ambitions, goals that filled my heart and mind when I was young. I have an intense desire to know God. I want to be able to embrace him — his love, his power, his majesty, his humility, his compassion, his creativity, his being.
God’s power is beyond comprehension. The vastness of the universe stretches the image of God’s creative power because it is finite compared to his infinite nature. Nothing can measure the height, the depth and the breadth of his being. His majesty is so intense that devils tremble, spiritual beings cry, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” humans bow knees and hearts.
God’s creativity reveals itself in the complexity of our solar system, the galaxy, the endless other galaxies man has discovered, the vast spaces making up the universe we know. How amazing that in regular cycles the moon waxes and wanes, controlling the tides of the oceans on the earth. The cycle occurs in the bird nest in the tree outside my study, where a mother bird is keeping four tiny brown eggs warm until tiny birds emerge to be fed until they can fly and seek their own food. In another year those tiny birds will be creating their own nests where the cycle will continue.
The material evidence of God’s nature overwhelms the sense and imagination. God’s love would be only conjecture if he had not willed that his son become man so that we could view the fullness of God. Jesus shows us divine humility as he comes into the world as a baby, grows as infants do and eventually walks the hills and valleys of Israel to teach and serve.
Jesus is baptized by John so that he can fulfill all righteousness even though he has nothing to repent of. He is completely caring: He embraces and blesses children, he holds conversations with a foreign, sinful woman in Samaria, he makes himself available to the touch of a woman made unclean for years, he calls Lazarus from the tomb, and he loves his disciples and prepares them for spiritual leadership in his Kingdom.
Our God is so pure and good that anything evil is totally abhorrent to him. Yet our God was so loving that he rebelled against his nature and sent his son into the world to become sin and die on the cross for sin, all the sins of all mankind, and offer forgiveness and redemption for all of mankind. God loves.
I never fully knew or understood my dad, but he evoked in me immense love. And even though I struggle to know and understand Father God, my love for him grows, and I hunger to know him fully.
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