Father; Founder or Originator (Oxford English Dictionary)
‘It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons…’- Johann Schiller
I remember it as clear as day. It was very early in the morning, I lay there resting in that peculiar state of semi-consciousness, not fully awake but aware. It was 14th August 2007.
Without warning and in almost a natural way this sentence ran vividly through my mind, word after word;
“The knowledge of the love of God increases with a revelation of his fatherhood”
That was it. Nothing else followed but a calm silence as I repeated the words in my mind again. I knew God had spoken. I rushed to find a pen and paper and scrawled the words across the page, worried that I might lose the essence or forget the sentence if I didn’t write it down immediately.
That word revolutionised my walk with God.
My experience of ‘fatherhood’, like so many others, had been one of abandonment and absence. I had no real concept of what it meant to be ‘fathered’ by my dad or anyone else. I began to investigate the meaning of Fatherhood. I read ferociously, grasped hold of every related resource I could find and listened to countless messages on the topic. This took years and I am still on that road of enlightenment.
I began to pray differently, seeing in the scriptures how Jesus spoke and prayed to the Father. I realised that He was calling me to pray to the ‘Father’ also. He spoke of His father many times, but He also declared in prayer in Matthew 6 v 9 ‘Our Father’. OUR Father.
I felt like David when he penned Psalm 139 ‘Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain’.
So, what does fathering look like?
‘In Psychological literature, fathering is usually translated into father’s presence status and father’s involvement. Social Scientists define involvement as varied paternal functions such as; endowment, acknowledging the child as one’s own; protection, protecting the child from sources of potential danger and contributing to decisions that affect the child’s welfare; provision, ensuring that the child’s material needs are met; formation, socialisation activities such as discipline and teaching; and caregiving.’- Erini Flouri ‘ Fathering and Child Outcomes’
God is not a man that He should lie. I can verify that almost 6 years after receiving and responding to that word, the roots of my knowledge of His incredible love have increased and gone down deep. His Fatherhood is becoming ever real to me.
God is jealous (in the best way) and zealous for us to know Him as our Father, as Jesus Himself declared;
‘And do not call anyone on earth ‘Father’, for you have one Father, and He is in heaven…’
– Matthew 23 v 9
Our Father has chosen to provide for us, protect us, define us and direct us. If you have Jesus, you have the Father- You can’t have one without the other.
Knowing this, we have the divine privilege and responsibility to search out what Fatherhood is all about, to determinedly increase our revelation of the love of God. We then have the opportunity to share this with those around us, those desperate to know the love of a real Father.
Men– Do you know the love of the Father? Could you share some of what you know with another? Could you offer fathering to someone?
Women– Do you know the love of the Father? Could you share some of what you know with another? Could you connect those in your life to someone who would father them?
‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!’- 1 John 3 v 1
Have you explored the Fatherhood of God?