The concept of fatherhood is something I struggle with daily. Growing up, I knew my father, which is more than many could say. I even spent a few weekends a year at his house with his family, but like any child of a single parent, that feeling of abandonment still ran deep and caused so many issues in my life. Even now, I still struggle with how to relate to a man. More than anything, I struggle with how to relate to God.
God is my father. I have known this as long as I can remember. His covenant with me makes Him the best father I could ever know. That I could ever think of or want. But my twisted idea of fatherhood makes me look at God like I look at my father, loving me enough to claim me, but distant and unsupportive. Fine with hearing from me a few times a year. Putting his other children before me. In step with these assumptions, I respond to God as I have responded to my father. I am distant. I feel awkward spending time with Him. I look for that relationship in other things and people. I even get so hurt and angry that I curse Him for what I believe He's done to me.
But my father is not God. I can not expect for him, or anyone, to do for me what only God can do. While as parents, we have a biblical duty to our children and families, this world is not perfect. As much as my father's absence hurt me, it blessed me. It gave me the opportunity to experience a perfect love and validation from the Lord. My father did what he could, and for that I respect and honor him, but God did that and more.
God is my father. Not only is he my father, but he's the one I actually need most. He's proven Himself to me over and over again. He pursued me for as long as I remember, sending His Word and his people into my life moment by moment to show me how much he knows me, and loves me, and desires me just as I am. He held me when I was an 8-year-old girl, sitting in front of the window, waiting for a father to come and love me. He disciplined and comforted me when I was a teenager, running around with boys, hoping to find the validation that my father should have provided. He rejoiced in me, when I accomplished my goals and lived up to the calling He instilled in me. He defended me and protected me from the danger I could have put myself in. And He hears me still, wiping away the tears from my eyes as I sit and type this. I have always had a good father. It's all He knows to be.
No matter if you experienced the love of a father or not, I hope you look to God as Father, knowing that He alone is perfect and loves you... unapologetically.
"Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation."
-Psalm 68:5 ESV