Recently a few of us were reflecting on God as Father.
It was stunning to read Genesis 1 and Luke 3 noticing that in as much as to the rest of creation God is Creator, when God made Adam His relationship to Him was that of a loving Father.
It is unfortunate that there are many examples of failed fatherhood that we can point to. Some in scripture, some in history of a variety of cultures and of course some today in our culture, in our lifetime.
I used to get a bit despondent about that. Just when you thought it was safe to believe a guy can be a role model they go letting you down, missing a beat and messing about. Some people just advised me not to bother, because God alone should be sufficient.
God alone should indeed be sufficient. Father figures should not take the place of God and there can be a serious issue of unrealistic expectations of human beings.
It’s a mistake, however, to write off as hopeless the cause of father figures. Reading the story of Abram who eventually became Father Abraham is a good reason to maintain hope in the positive influence of father figures.
You can imagine the stories he has to tell Isaac about his journey with God. There is of course the highlight of that when Abraham’s faith is tested with his promised son. In all that, however, Isaac has sufficient to carry on the journey his father started. This is to such a degree that even in his flawed relationships with his twin sons, the chosen son can carry on their Grandpa’s legacy.
Looking at my own upbringing and the key father figures in it I recognise how helpful they have been demonstrating aspects of the Father’s character. Their flaws actually give me hope to know the example I set has to be real and transparent. It must point people to the Father’s love in me, not just me. That way they can carry on the Father’s legacy.
The beauty of being a father figure is that it’s not just about biological children. The community of grace does well to encourage and reinforce the critical relationships that take place between generations. The sons of today are tomorrow’s fathers, and faithful role models can do the world of good living for our heavenly Father.
As long as we maintain the ultimate connection to God as our Father, father figures are valued and needed for the good of all.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden