“Our Heavenly Father is everything our earthly father couldn’t be.”
Dads come in all shapes and sizes, don’t they? Fur-dads, biological fathers, step-dads, foster dads, and other father figures play a valuable role in all of our lives.
A few weeks ago, our pastor in Nashville opened a series that walks through the significance of the Lord’s prayer. If you’ve grown up in church, you’ve probably repeated the Lord’s prayer more times than you can count. We say it before competitions, during church services, before tests, before we go to sleep, and we definitely say it before we eat our perfectly cooked waffle fries from Chick-fil-A. But the two words that open the prayer, “Our Father”, recently made their way out of my head and into my heart.
We begin the prayer with "Our Father" because that's exactly who God is; your loving, compassionate, perfect Father. He calls us His children, and where your earthly father may fall short, your Heavenly Father will not.
An exercise that helped me grasp this truth was writing down the positive qualities my earthly dad has, including his generosity, adventurous spirit, determined work ethic, and resiliency. Writing this list helped me shine a light on the goodness he brings to the table; bringing up feelings of deep gratitude.
I also wrote a list of qualities I didn’t or don’t experience from him. No father or father figure is perfect, and I’m sure being a dad is more challenging than I can imagine. There’s room for grace. But where you feel your earthly father lacks, your Heavenly Father does not. He's everything your earthly father couldn't be. How awesome is it that we can move toward a Heavenly dad who lacks nothing, who engages us as His children whether our earthly father is present or not?
If you have spare time this week, or you have a daily quiet time, I encourage you to create a few lists to help the significance of “Our Father” sink in.
1. List the positive qualities of your earthly dad, whether he’s with us or not.
2. List the qualities you feel/felt you may have missed from your earthly dad.
3. List the qualities of the Lord. Here are a few of my favorite verses to reference:
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
James 1:17 (NIV)
"The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion."
Psalm 116:5 (NIV)
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
John 1:14 (NIV)
"As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him."
Psalm 103:13 (NIV)
I hope by doing this you will see His goodness and know that in Him, you lack nothing.