Good, Good Father
The idea of God as our Father can be overwhelming, but that's exactly who He wants to be — and it's who we need Him to be.
Sometimes I find the love of God to be overwhelming.
I have this habit of putting God under a microscope. Studying him, from afar. Keeping him at a distance, as it were; examining him as I would a case study in a psychology textbook, looking for cause and effect; a slide of plant cells, under a microscope, or a new word, digging at the etymology.
Because, sometimes, His love is so overwhelming it is nearly painful — the odd mix of intense joy, immense relief, and even fear and grief, that comes from being so loved.
Academic study of theology, and of God, is not wrong but when the study of God replaces the worship of God, it can be wrong. For me, it’s an old habit. It’s one that is so very hard to break because, I suppose, I find it to be so very safe.
I’m much better about battling this habit than I used to be. I recognize the pull to academic fervor, in which I’ve tried to understand something that is non-understandable by design. In the moments that I recognize that I am stuck yet again on that path, I’ve learned to put that wondering in place where it belongs.
At least, most of the time.
Last night, during music rehearsal for worship this coming Sunday, our worship pastor introduced a song to us that I must have heard before, though I don’t recall it. Most everyone there knew it already; however, since I rarely listen to contemporary Christian music radio stations it’s not one that I recall hearing. The song, sung by Chris Tomlin, is Good, Good Father.
And, it struck a place in my soul that I’ve not quite been able to shake since we rehearsed it.
Musically speaking, I’m not hugely impressed by the song. But some of the phrases — some of the words — some of the concepts; well, whew.
God, as Father, is a tough concept for many. Maybe that’s the case for you. I know I struggle with it. I know others struggle with it, for many reasons.
The idea of God as Father is not always easy to grasp. It puts God much, much closer to our — my — soul(s), than we may be comfortable with, at first. But, truly, that is exactly where He needs to be.
It is where we need Him to be. And it is where He longs to be.
We read, in so many places in scripture, of how God is the Father to those who call upon Him in repentance, and to whom He grants salvation. Scripture uses the language of adoption to define this relationship. It isn’t merely an analogy or metaphor. It simply is:
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God (Gal. 4:4-6).
We, who are followers of Christ, have been redeemed and adopted by God, our Father. The weight of that unconditional love can be oh, so overwhelming.
It’s a love that should only gives good gifts (Luke 11), though we may not always understand — or “feel” — or “see” — the good in the gift.
It’s a love that disciplines only and always appropriately, and only and always in all-consuming love; though sometimes that discipline is painful to bear.
It’s a love that protects and cherishes perfectly.
Whew. He is, a good, good Father.