• sibyllezion

The perfect father.

Updated: Jun 24





"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variation nor alternation of light and darkness. " ( James 1:17)



"No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten, which is God, and which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared it." ( John 1:18)

"Do not two sparrows sell for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the earth without your Father. But with you even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore do not be afraid; you are more precious than many sparrows." (Mt 10:29-31)



"Fear not, little flock! For it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32)



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"The God who shook this universe out of its sleeve, filled it with galaxies and stars, with penguins and puffins - this is the God who loves with glorious stubbornness." (Brennan Manning)



My dear friends,


The relationship with my father had light and shadow.


I was a Daddy's child.


In the first years of my life, there was probably no greater hero than this strong, bearded man in my eyes, who had sheep and always smelled a little of sawdust and pipe tobacco. Who artfully turned wood in his little carpenter's barn, and sawed out little wooden horses. Whose strong arms whirled me through the air and for whom I waited longingly as soon as the time came when he drove around the corner - after a long day's work, after a long period of absence on assembly.


When I think of the first memories of my father, he is standing in the garden, digging up beds. Then he whistles. My father always whistled. Folk songs, hippie songs, songwriters, church songs. His eyes flashed exuberantly and he loved to be outside. To light potato fires. To build with his hands. Sowing and reaping.


When I think of my first memories of my father, it's of social evenings. Of friends and laughter. Of sitting snuggled on his lap- proud of my dad. Secure on his knees.


But when I think of my father, these memories are soon overshadowed. Separation, affairs, severity and indifference. Demand for achievement and absence. Not understanding grief, and a demand too high for me to meet. Not tolerating anyone next to him.


When I think of my father, I think of futile longing, of lack of support, of sudden failure to answer the question, "Do you see me?"


"No, I don't care about you. I forgot that today is Daddy's Day and I have more important things to do." "No, I forgot that there is a little girl sitting on the stone steps waiting to be the last one picked up from kindergarten."


To the question, "Am I beautiful?" echoed, "No, I'm not even sure you're my daughter." "No, you are defiant, rebellious, precocious, and I am not interested in what you do."


To the question, "Am I worth supporting?" came the answer, "Only if you deliver. If you fall, doubt, dream- then I don't support that."


My father had two sides. And I soon, very soon fell from the princess chair to the Cinderella role.


My parents had divorced.


And all the dirt that then gets stirred up landed unchecked on a five-year-old girl. The relationship was never to stabilize again. The longing for the father became an inner struggle to be acceptable. And failure in his eyes became self-condemnation. I failed often. I couldn't please him. And at some point I gave up hoping for love.



"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variation nor alternation of light and darkness. " ( James 1:17)


No change nor alternation of light and darkness.


In 1 John 4:16 it says that God is love.


Jesus is the perfect embodiment of the Father.


For a long time I held on to Jesus. I didn't understand that- the Father, the Heavenly Father was fearsome. Demanding. Powerful. He had the power to uplift and destroy.


But God is the perfect Father, the perfect love.


Someone with whom you know where you stand. Someone who will not condemn with undue harshness. Someone who has clear principles, who does not tolerate injustice, oppression and dark, selfish ways, who in this respect is already "the head of the household". But also a Father who leaves us free to choose our own ways, while he waits eagerly for us to turn to him, and who then looks beyond all sin to what really matters: The heart that seeks him. A Father who knows, judges and guides us better than we know ourselves. Who, when asked, "Am I seen?" responds, "No matter where you are, and how far you have wandered, yes, I still see you. I know you. Dare coming out of your hiding!" Every single hair on your head." Who, when asked, "Am I beautiful?" replies, "You are more precious than rubies. You are called by name. You are recognized and wanted. You are my child."


Who to the question : "Are you proud of me? Am I a joy to you?" answers:


"You are precious to me, and I see you growing with joy. What you cannot do, I do not credit you with. My wisdom and counsel are always there. My provision is always there. And I will continue to love you stoically."




"The goodness of the LORD has no end,[1] his mercy never ceases, 23 it is new every morning!" ( Lamentations 3:22)




We are used to the fact that all goodness eventually runs out.


All love has an end, and we react indignantly and harshly to our neighbor's struggles. Moreover, it is a general consensus that support is given only as long as a certain age limit is not exceeded. Those who are adults have to manage their own affairs. Self-responsibility, which is often rejected elsewhere, is proclaimed to be very important as soon as it comes to independent living and self-sufficiency - and thus also to the relinquishment of responsibility, maintenance payments and assistance. With suspicion all are regarded, which did not get it up to then in the row - in which range also always. Parental help gives way to criticism. Judgment. Resentment.


"Well, whoever makes such decisions has to live with the consequences!"


God-is not like that.


God remains available for life. He waits with loving arms for all who lose their way again and again. His goodness is new every day.


Unchangingly, God loves us through all inner chaos, all outer rebellion, all conflict-as long as we- yes, as long as we remain dwelling in His house. As long as our hearts love him. And even when we threaten to lose our faith, we have the promise that Jesus will stand for us. Will not let us go. Is for us, and never against us. Even when we become unfaithful - this Father remains faithful to us.


He has revealed his nature in lavish beauty. An infinite variety of animals, of landscapes, breathtaking harmonies, incomprehensible, fixed laws of nature, he who created all this, in incomprehensible creativity and with great attention to detail- he is our Father.


He embodies generosity and beauty, he loves diversity, he is immeasurably generous. Humor strikes us and tenderness. A watchful father who is jealous, who does not want to share his children with thieves and destroyers. A preserving father he is - a father who wants to protect us, and yet gives us the freedom to grow. A father who wants to free us from all entanglement with darkness and self-absorption, who dissolves false self-images, and who calls out to the lies of old hurts:


You are wanted! You are seen! You are beautiful! I have a plan for you!


Our image of the heavenly Father is superimposed and disturbed. From that, how we have experienced fatherhood, from that, which lack arises in us, when we think of fathers. But also by what the Old Testament conveys in terms of severity and punishment for sin.


But Jesus- has opened the way to reconciliation. No more condemnation, is the promise. No more punishment. Your wrongdoing has been atoned for. What remains- is love and acceptance. A Father who is there, who is available.


I have struggled with this fact for a long time. A loving father who is always there, who loves me and sees me - that seemed changeable. Somewhere his patience must have come to an end with me! Surely he does not love me, I am not perfect enough, not good enough, not ... enough.


A father who gives advice, who fights for me, who showers me with love, who gives me a share of everything he owns - a father who comforts, lifts me up, and explains things to me, a father who stands by my side in deep conflicts, who wipes away my tears and who rejoices over me - for whom I am neither too much nor too little - unimaginably strange.


"This can't be!" it rumbles in me, "this is too good to be true."


And everything in me resists-all the valuable life experience, the human wisdom. "Be careful!" it warns, "God is not like that."


But then I look at his selfie. Then I look at Jesus- and I recognize the Father.


And there is no more loving, more turned toward, more healing sight than the one revealed to us.


To know God as the loving Father-it is a process. A process in which we are confronted with inner convictions of worthlessness, of failure, of being unlovable.


To know God as a loving Father will confront us with everything we have built up as a self-image of self-condemnation. And stone by stone, the loving Father will bend down, gently pull his hands from the wounds, and bring not just a band-aid, but the ointment that heals.


What we must do for this to happen?


We must dare to trust. We must dare to believe. And we must allow ourselves to learn something we may never have experienced.


Today I close with a prayer. A prayer for all whose hearts are wounded. A prayer for all who still believe that the Father is a change between light and shadow.


Ah, my father. Have I forgiven him?


In all the chaos of our relationship, you know, in all the absence and in all the lack, in all the failure and in all the hurt: my Father was a Christian.


The day will come when I will see him again. And then all that came between us will be gone. We will embrace each other, healed and restored. And sometimes, even when so much has gone unlived, so much pain has been created, I smell the smell of pipe and freshly sawn wood. And then I smile wistfully and think: Dad. We will meet again. And then we'll do better.


Prayer:


" Perfect Father, Abba, dear Daddy. I come before you, justified and accepted through Jesus, and thank you that I may be your child. Daddy, many things stand between us. I do not know how to have a relationship with you. Often I shrink back and wait for the thunder. Often I attribute hardness to you, which is not from you at all. Often I am afraid of rejection, of rebuke and condemnation. Your greatness frightens me. I know how powerful you are, I know that I am your personal property. And yet I have a hard time seeing your love and strength as something nurturing, protective, and providing. It is incredible that I can always run to you, that I never get too old to be comforted and carried by you, that you always fight for me and your love for me knows no bounds. I thank you that my guilt, my wrong decisions no longer stand between us. I thank you that you want to heal and free me, that you want to draw me to your heart. I ask you to show me how you really are. In all your beauty. In all your love and goodness. I ask you to provide for me and wrap me in your security. I ask you to touch my heart where I cannot allow your love. I ask you to help me correct my image of you. I ask you to be able to accept your provision, your joy over me, and your plans for me. Show me that our relationship is restored and that nothing and no one can change it. Help me to accept and experience your fatherhood for me. It is incredible that you, as the Creator of all things, see me, want me, love me, seek my closeness. That you care about my worries and needs, my dreams and longings. That you look when I want to show you something, that you are not stingy with praise and recognition. I thank you that my needs are not indifferent to you, that my situation is not indifferent to you. And I ask you for a revelation of your love, in which I realize that you really know me. Meet me, Daddy. Please run towards me and bend down so low that I dare to run into your arms.


This is what I ask of you today. Let your living water flow and wash away all that stands between us. I love you, and thank you for all that you are.


In the name of Jesus,


Amen.



Sources:


Praise:Brian Doerksen, "The Father's House: Song for the prodigals.


The Bible. Luther translation. Quoted from: www.bibleserver.com


Quote: Brennan Manning


Photo: Wix.com

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