The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. Psalm 103:13

“I told her she needs to leave before she gets hurt, but she said her dad beat her mom and it was okay, so this must be okay too. I’ll be alright”

dadThose words from one of my youth group kids still haunt me. She was telling about the latest fight her aunt was having with her uncle. The aunt would quite frequently end up bruised and battered from his beatings but did nothing about it. A couple times the police were called but by the time they arrived the fight would be over and the aunt would take full responsibility for the uncle’s actions.

There are so many things wrong with that picture, but the one that stands out to me is this poor woman who watched her dad beat her mother and thought it was okay. Her small children were learning the same pattern!

Many churches say the Lord’s Prayer as part of their weekly worship. The first few words “Our Father, who art in Heaven” must create a huge disconnect for some. Unfortunately, the vision of a father is bruised and battered by men who abuse their wives and children or abandon them. One type of abuse is physical, the other emotional. But both leave lasting scars.

Proverbs tells us two attributes God possesses as our father. He is both tender and compassionate. To be tender means to be sympathetic, caring, gently, generous and warm hearted. To be compassionate means to be understanding, sensitive, loving, merciful, and considerate (among other things).

If God was your dad he would never miss a concert or school activity; he would never fail to understand you even though the struggles you are going through are nothing compared to what he went through when ‘he was young.’ Your heavenly father disciplines in love and never punishes in anger. He lets you hold the remote and watches the cooking channel with you. When work beckons he chooses you over status, money or power.

That’s the kind of dad he is because God is good. I was personally blessed with a good, caring, compassionate earthly father. But even my earthly father was imperfect. Not my heavenly dad. He’s everything I could hope to have and more.

PRAYER: Father God. I can’t comprehend the extent of your love and compassion. My view of fatherhood is skewed by my own imperfection and the examples of ‘fathers’ I see around me. Help me to see you as you are so that I can rest in your love and compassion. Thank you for being my dad. Amen.