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Imagine a Loving Father

by Abi Foerster on April 16, 2024

“And a voice from heaven said, “This is my son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased.”  (Matthew 3:17)

How many of us long to hear these words – that we are deeply loved and fully accepted?  We hope to hear these words from our friends, from our brothers and sisters, and especially from our fathers.  But the need goes deeper.

Whether we are aware of it or not, we all long to hear our heavenly Father say, “You are my child, I love you, and I’m pleased with you.”  How many of us, though, live our everyday lives with a sense of God’s love and acceptance?

My experience over fifty plus years of being part of the church is that church is a community filled with wounded people.  Many of these same people can’t imagine a loving father.  Can’t imagine being forgiven – or forgiving those who have hurt them.  And they certainly can’t imagine all their pain being redeemed. 

Today in our culture, so many people grow up without knowing their father, or they experience an absent father, or are in a conflicted relationship with their father.  One might even argue that the United States is becoming an increasingly “fatherless” society. 

Although most children still grow up and become fully functional adults and contribute to society alongside everyone else, they often carry deep wounds.  In regular relationships and at work, they find themselves striving for others’ approval, fearful of being abandoned, and doubtful that their own families will remain intact.

But here’s the truth, despite this reality:  we were all created to be cared for and provided for by a good father.  So, how do we recover what has been lost?  What does it look like for those with a broken image of a father to begin discovering a true and better father?

We begin to look to Jesus and his relationship with his Father!  One place this is revealed is in Jesus’ baptism when God the Father shows up.  This particular encounter shows us that Jesus lived with this certainty:  the love and acceptance of his eternal Father flooded his life, filled his conversations, and formed the basis for his teaching and ministry.  You see, knowing you are loved by God changes everything!

We may not be like Jesus yet, but all who believe in him are also said to be “children of God” (1 John 3:1).  As God’s very own sons and daughters, we can be as certain as Christ of our Father’s love and acceptance. 

For me, like many of you, my earthly father was flawed.  His lack of love towards me and his brokenness as a recovering alcoholic often challenged my own faith and hope in my heavenly father.  But thankfully, our God is in the work of redemption – of working towards a better reality.  Sometimes in this life, but certainly beyond this life into our eternal lives too.

Questions for Reflection

  1. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about God? What were you taught about God growing up? 
  2. Read John 1:18. What does it mean that Jesus is God and in relationship with the Father?  How is Jesus uniquely positioned to reveal the father to us?
  3. Reflect on your relationship with your own father. What positive memories come to mind?  What ways did you try to earn your father’s love growing up?  How have you seen yourself longing for a perfect, heavenly father?
  4. Re-read our lesson from Sunday, Matthew 3:13 – 17. According to this passage, how does God the Father think and feel about his son, Jesus?  How does this passage reflect the truth that “God is love”?

The truth is that God affirms, accepts, and loves you!  Which of these realities resonates with you most?  Which do you find hardest to believe?  As you ponder this, is there anything in your earthly father that you find yourself hoping God would fulfill?  The good news is that there are no prodigal sons or daughters too far from home.  Equally true, there are no fathers (or mothers) too derelict to be changed by God.  Imagine a good, and ever-present Father.  Imagine God who is love through and through.  Now, imagine God is for YOU!

Listen for Inspiration

Kings Kaleidoscope | How Deep The Father's Love | (Official Lyric Video) (youtube.com)


O God of Grace and Love, I pray that your Holy Spirit would remind me daily that I am your child, just as Jesus was God’s son. Help me to experience and live out of a sense that You are my truest Father. Open my eyes to your deep love and who you truly are, O Lord.  For those men in my life who have revealed a glimpse of your loving presence on earth, I offer my gratitude. Thank you for their kindness, courage, generosity, truth, compassion, faith, and love.  Jesus, as this day closes, I offer you my love and trust.  Amen.

Tags: love, father, baptism, imagine