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The Love of a Father
Can you trust it?
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
It can be hard to trust other people.
How many times has someone promised you something, and then let you down? This hurts even more when it’s your mother or father.
The latest US Census shows that 25% of children live every day without a father.1 That means you probably know (or are) someone who grew up without a father present in your life.
During my life, it has been hard to shake the feeling that something bad was always just around the corner. That somehow, reality had it in for me. Many times, I felt this most strongly when something good happened. If you let your guard down when things are good, it will hurt that much more when it goes wrong.
Where did those feelings come from? Well, let’s just say there were quite a few authority figures in my life who let me down. I wanted to trust them - that they would keep their promises. But they didn’t. And it hurt.
So when I would read Jesus’ words - that I have a ‘Father who is in heaven’ who ‘[gives] good things to those who ask him’ - I spent more time thinking about those snakes and stones.
Intellectually, I could agree. God is good. Therefore He gives good gifts. But emotionally, I couldn’t accept it. What if God was actually holding a snake behind His back? What if, at the last moment, He pulled out some rocks instead of a nice meal?
I couldn’t shake the feeling.
That is, until I became a father.
When my first child was born, I cried for the better part of an hour in sheer thankfulness and joy for this precious life that had been given to us.
In that moment, every fibre of my being started to reorient itself to this single thought: ‘How can I love this precious life?’
And since then I have had many thoughts like it:
‘I would do anything to protect my precious child.’
‘I will use all my resources, all my strength, all my ability to bless this baby who is sleeping, with complete trust, in my arms.’
‘How can I make him smile, laugh, giggle?’
‘How can I comfort him, reassure him, provide for him?’
And then it hit me:
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Here I was, a broken, sinful, mess of a man - and yet I loved this child with every fibre of my being.
How much more must God love me?