We focused this week on God’s role as the ultimate loving parental role in our lives. We see that in the initial way we describe God in the Apostle’s Creed, as God, the Father. We look at the example of the prodigal son to see God as this loving and forgiving Father as we return from our wilderness of sin. This parable is so important for how we view our relationship with God.
I want to highlight three markers to describe this parental identity that God embodies for us, according to scripture: provision, protection, and presence.
Provision starts right from the beginning. He created us, and the world around us. Our origin story is written by the work of His hands. We also see His provisions in how He spun creation into motion, how He has provided us with the resources and the abilities to flourish on Earth. Obviously, we should note how sin has fractured these provisions, but even then, we see His paternal love for us revealed in how He even provides us with redemption and a new Way in Jesus. Like it was noted last week, God’s promised provision of eternity with Him is something that we need to continually remember if we are to see God as a loving Father and see our lives as a gift from Him. Throughout scripture we see God’s provision for His people, all the way to the New Creation for Jesus to rule and reign.
Protection is maybe one that we may doubt at times. Maybe it is because we can list off all the bad things that have happened to us and those around us to the point where we would be naïve to say we always feel protected. But how does a perfect father protect? God provided us with a free will out of His love for us, so since He gave up some of His control to us, can He be at fault if we feel “unprotected”? A parent cannot always be there to catch a child before they fall, but they can offer the safety and comfort for them, and always provide and protect a way back to ultimate safety and rest. There is also the spiritual protection that we cannot ignore. The evil of sin and the brokenness as a result is very real. We may be hurt by it, we may even suffer because of it, but God promises that if our faith remains in Him, that we will not be overcome by it. That is another promise that we need to cement into the foundations of our faith. Our loving Father will always offer us the protection of our place with Him.
That leads to presence. Throughout history, throughout the biblical narrative, and throughout our lives, God’s desire is to be present with us. Through Jesus, and through the giving of His Spirit, He offers us His continual presence in our lives. Although the phrase “all things happen for a reason” is not always true, what is always true is that God desires to lead you and preserve you through whatever that season is that you are journeying through. One of the blessings from God giving His Spirit to all who put their faith in Jesus is that we can support one another and be fruitful for each other. God’s presence may not always be a burning bush, but if we are a part of a healthy body of Christ God should be able to make His presence known through the words and actions of our brothers and sisters.
For all of us, the times that we see the failures of Earthly parents may make it hard to trust the promises of our Eternal Father. The anxiety from a lack of provisions. The fear from a lack of protection. The trauma from a lack of presence. The distrust from a lack of fulfilled promises. It would be wise of all of us to invite God into these points of pain. Ask for His help and healing as we seek to forgive and grow from our valid reasons for mistrust and unrest. That way, we can let go of our wishful thinking, let go of our doubtful reflexes, and embrace the loving and grace-filled promises that we have from our all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-present God.