Jesus taught us to pray to God as “Our Father” and Paul taught us to call God, Abba or Daddy. How we relate to God will be affected by the relationship we had with our own earthly father. A large number of people today have had no father, whether by misadventure, divorce, abandonment or absence because of work. Others have had an abusive father or an overly protective father, even a micromanager. Others have had fathers who were only interested in them if they performed to their satisfaction.
And so we come with our wounds to the Father. We can’t comprehend that He loves us so extravagantly. We sometimes feel overwhelmed with the depth of His passion for us and we try to withdraw. Except He doesn’t let us go. He wants us.
Let me highlight 2 stories to show you what God’s love is like.
When Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, his father, Jacob, was devastated. The brothers lied to Jacob and intimated that a wild beast had killed him and Jacob said he would go to his grave mourning. When Jacob eventually heard that Joseph was alive his heart initially stood still but then his spirit revived (Gen. 45:26-27). When he finally met up with Joseph there was a lot of weeping and Jacob finally confessed that he was now ready to die happy since he had seen Joseph’s face again.
Sounds a bit like the parable of the prodigal son, doesn’t it? The younger son left the family, lived a very different life to the one in which he had been raised, and eventually returned to his family where his father saw him afar off and ran to him and fell on his neck and kissed him. There was much celebration for the son who had been thought to be dead was now alive again (Luke 15:32).
You couldn’t get 2 more opposite examples of sons. One son was godly, upright and obedient to his father. The other was ungodly and didn’t respect any of his father’s values. Despite the disparity in the sons’ behaviours, both sons were loved unconditionally and neither was forgotten. Both fathers rejoiced exceedingly when their sons returned to the family.
We all can understand how Joseph was loved by his father but the prodigal? Wasn’t the father well rid of this useless, selfish, greedy, good-for-nothing, immoral, godless, waste of oxygen son? Well, no!
God loves you so unconditionally that He wants you to come back into His family for Him to bless you and turn your life around.
We have all been that prodigal son and only because of God’s great kindness have we been saved. This is the truth:
“Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But—
When God our Saviour revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life” (Tit. 3:3-7 NLT).