There are many figures used in Scripture to illustrate the nature of God. One of the most comforting for us, showing the caring nature of the Lord, is the figure of a father.
Paul Dwight Moody (1879-1947), a son of famous evangelist D.L. Moody, told a story about himself and his father that had a positive and long-lasting effect on his life:
An incident which impressed me deeply then and its impress has never faded happened when I was in the vicinity of 10 years old. My father had told me to go to bed. I honestly thought he meant when I had finished a quite legitimate and proper occupation, for I was hobnobbing with a little crony of my age who had come to the house with an older person. I remained talking with him. My father, later passing through the room and finding that I had not obeyed him, spoke with that directness of which he was capable, called brusqueness by some, and ordered me to bed at once. There was no standing on the order of my going after this. I retreated, frightened and in tears, for such a tone of voice was a new experience in my life. I hurried to bed, but before I had time to fall asleep, he was at my bedside, kneeling and asking my forgiveness for the harsh way in which he had spoken to me, the tears falling down over his rugged, bearded face. That was nearly half a century ago, but I would exchange any memory of life before I would surrender that. For all unknowing he was laying for me the consciousness of the fatherhood of God, and the love of God. No sermon on the prodigal's father, and no words on the love of God have cast quite such a light as his huge figure kneeling in the twilight by my bed, asking the forgiveness of a child.
The mental pictures we have of God usually come from the Bible. As with Moody, our view of God is many times influenced strongly by our experiences with others. Hopefully, those experiences are positive in nature.
In addition to God's love, Moody's father demonstrated the humility of God, who was willing to sacrifice himself for our salvation, paying for it with his blood (Acts 20:28). Paul wrote to encourage a Christlike spirit of humility and submission to others in his letter to the Philippian church (2:4-8): "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."
Regardless of whether you are a Christian father, I hope you will recognize God as the perfect model of a father's relationship to his children and model your life after his example.
Happy Father's Day!