“Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven…’” (Matthew 6:9).
Maybe the most profound shift Jesus made in the way we see God is found in these first words of The Lord’s Prayer.
For those of us who grew up within Christianity, or even were aware of the basic tenets of the faith, the idea of God being a Father probably doesn’t sound too radical. But put yourself, just for a moment, in the shoes of those who first heard these words of Jesus.
To the Jews, God’s name was not even to be fully written, let alone spoken. YHWY, English’s failed attempt at the gravitas of God’s original name. “I Am.” “The One True God.”
Imagine walking up to hear Jesus teach on this day over two thousand years ago, fearing the very name of God. And this teacher, this prophet, the very Son of God, tells you to now begin your prayers with, “Our Father.”
Almost two years ago I entered into the crazy, wonderful, life-changing reality of being a father. The love I feel in my heart toward my boy brings tears to my eyes, even in this moment. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, Wes could do to change the reality of my love.
And yet, I so often struggle to see God as a good and loving Father. I struggle to accept the reality of his unceasing, unmerited, unselfish, unending love.
On this Father’s Day, what if we focused our attention on truly knowing and being known by the fathers, and father figures in our lives? And what if this effort started, right now, by making space to allow Jesus’ encouragement to become a reality in our own lives?
How do you primarily see God when you close your eyes?
How do you picture his face when you visualize him looking back at you?
In what ways could you open your heart and allow God to be more like a Father to you?
God calls you his child. You are not his laborer. You are not a creation he made and put on a distant shelf. He doesn’t look at you with disappointment. He is not waiting to just dump another task on your plate. He is a good Father who far and away, above all else, just wants relationship with you.
Would you take even a few moments today, right now, to close your eyes and ask God to give you a fresh revelation of himself as your good and loving Father? Would you allow him to shift your perspective, to reintroduce himself to you as Jesus did, as “Abba”?
Happy Father’s Day. May we allow this celebration of fatherhood to produce life in us, to change us, to help us see God as Jesus encourages us to. And may our lives be filled with the overwhelming joy of real, close, familial relationship with our incredible Father.