The Love of a Father
Today as I began to start my quiet time with God, a song came mind. The lyrics: “O come to the altar the Father’s arms are open wide. Forgiveness was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.” As this song entered my mind, I got a picture of my heavenly Father, looking at me with open arms. Sometimes I see God the way I see my earthly father. I am afraid to come to him, afraid of being punished, or put down, or feeling unloved. I don’t always think God is waiting for me with open arms. Instead, sometimes I think he is ready to punish me, and so I hide. I don’t spend the time I need to spend with him, because I am afraid of what he will tell me. This morning, as this song entered my mind, I was reminded of the Father's love for me. I felt it in that moment. The Father’s arms aren’t just open, they’re open WIDE. He says, COME. He is waiting for us to come to him. He doesn’t force us, or push us to come, but rather he INVITES us with open arms. I love that picture.
Do you ever struggle with seeing God as different from your earthly father. I know that at times, this is a real problem. Growing up, my dad and I had a rough relationship. Because my dad and I are similar, we struggled to get along. We fought a lot, and our relationship was only getting worse. I didn’t feel that his arms were open wide, but, waiting to punish me, or tell me everything I did wrong. I knew he would never forget it. Subconsciously, I started to see God like that. I knew that God was full of grace, but I didn’t ever want to do wrong, and have him be angry with me, or disappointed in me. So, I was obedient, but it was out of fear, and not the kind of fear we should have for the Lord. It was out of the fear of God punishing me, and turning his back on me. But so much healing has taken place. Not only did my relationship with God improve, but so did my relationship with my earthly father. I began to see God as a loving father, and one who is for me.
While I was in Hawaii back in May, I was looking out the window and watching the waves on the beach. Then, I noticed this little girl walking on the beach; she had to be about 2 years old. She turned around, and started running, intrigued, I began to watch her. She ran and ran, and then I noticed who she was running to. Her grandma was on the other side of the beach, smiling at her with open arms. The little girl ran into her grandma's arms, and her grandma embraced her and lifted her off her feet. There was so much joy in this moment, and I couldn’t help but think of my relationship with God. His arms are open to me, and he is inviting me to run to him, so that I can find rest in his presence.
God’s love for us is so strong, and so abundant. We can’t even begin to fathom it. Maybe your relationship with your earthly father isn’t great. Maybe he doesn’t tell you he loves you, or you don’t feel like you can ever come to him. Maybe you don’t even talk to him, or have a relationship with him at all. Maybe he has passed away, and is no longer with you. Maybe he has hurt you so deep, you can’t even begin to uncover all of it. Whatever the case is with your father, know that you have a heavenly father who loves you and cares for you and cherishes you. He is inviting you to COME TO HIM. He waits for YOU with arms open wide. I know it can be difficult to imagine this if you have never experienced love from your earthly father, but let me just tell you it is so real. God’s love for you is everlasting. He loves EVERYTHING about you. He created you, and chose you. Come to him and invite him in. There, he waits for you.