This Advent Season we are “unwrapping” a fuller, more accurate picture of God through the lenses of Isaiah 9:6. This classic Christmas time text describes God in Christ being our 1) Wonderful Counselor, 2) Mighty God 3) Everlasting Father and 4) Prince of Peace. Let’s talk about God as Father today.
“While the “father wound” is not an official counseling and psychology term,” writes Daniel Passini,”many in these fields will recognize and address the gaping hole from this wound.” He continues:
What is the father wound? Every person has a deep longing in their heart to hear from their father the same words Christ heard from His Father, “This is my beloved Son (or daughter), in whom I am well-pleased” (Matt 3:17; 17:5). It is a deep longing to know we have pleased our father.
The father wound is the deficiency or absence of love from your birth father, whether intentional or unintentional.
Statistics from the Fathers Unite Campaign show that children from fatherless homes are:
- 5 times more likely to commit suicide
- 32 times more likely to run away
- 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders
- 14 times more likely to commit rape
- 9 times more likely to drop out of high school
- 20 times more likely to end up in prison
Those who carry a “father wound” often subconsciously project their pain, anger, or fear onto their Heavenly Father. They may picture God as distant, or disinterested, or capricious or temperamental. Many carry a picture of God the Father that resembles Michaelangelo’s painting in the Sistine Chapel more than the compassionate Abba-daddy Jesus came to show us.
Meister Eckhart, a 13th century mystic, asks, “How long will grown men and women in this world keep drawing in their coloring books an image of God that makes them sad?” The good news is Jesus came to show us the true heart and character of the Everlasting Father.
In John 14, Phillip asked Jesus to “show us the Father.” Jesus responds:
“Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Phillip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?”
This is the great truth of Jesus’ Advent and the miracle of the incarnation. He has come to show us finally and fully who God is and what he is like. D. A. Carson puts it this way:
“Do you want to know what the character of God is like? Study Jesus. Do you want to know what the holiness of God is like? Study Jesus. Do you want to know what the wrath of God is like? Study Jesus. Do you want to know what the forgiveness of God is like? Study Jesus. Do you want to know what the glory of God is like? Study Jesus all the way to that wretched cross. Study Jesus.”
The best place to go to study Jesus’ picture of the Father is his famous story of the Prodigal Son. The story is about a rebellious son snubbing his father, demanding his inheritance early and going off to squander it in wild living. When he hits bottom, he comes walking back home with his head hanging in shame and expecting rejection. My friend Pastor Bill Johnson brings out one powerful message in this story:
“In squandering all he had — all his treasure — the son comes to realize that he himself is his father’s treasure. Always was, is and always will be, though unaware of it. When he came home the father welcomed him with joy because his son himself was his treasure and he wanted nothing else. Oh, to know and live in the awareness of the Father’s love and that we are his treasure.”
We may squander money, squander possessions, squander career opportunities, and squander precious time. JUST DON’T SQUANDER YOUR PRECIOUS SELF, YOUR GOD-BREATHED LIFE. You are the Father’s Treasure. Come home to His everlasting, never ending, eternal bear-hug embrace. There’s no greater Christmas gift than that!
What does the Father do next in the story? He sets a table, sacrifices his prize animal to throw a party which includes a celebratory feast. Likewise, Jesus, on his last night with his disciples, set a table and hosted a meal. He gave his followers another meal to celebrate every time they gather, so as to remember how far the Father was/is willing to go to get his prodigals back — sending His Son down the road to bring us back home. He gave His own life to make the feast possible.
Now it’s our turn to go searching for wanderers and squanders, and to bring them home to the great feast!
‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’… ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and urge them to come in, so that my [Father’s] house will be full” (Luke 14:21, 23).