The Relentless Father

The impression many of us have of God is that of a reluctant father—a father who we must ask and ask before he releases anything; a father we have to grovel on the ground before him. Much of that came from our upbringing—our experience with the fathers in our life.

But instead of a reluctant father I want to present to you The Relentless Father—A Father who’s not holding back; a Father who neither leaves nor abandons us; a Father who will go to any length to stand with you; an ever present help in trouble.

In Luke 15, Jesus told the parable of the lost son otherwise called the Prodigal Son. When the son left home with his father’s belongings and wasted everything through riotous living, the father grieves. Fatherhood comes with lots of pain. Same with our Father God. In fact, no one knows griefs like God. God has been grieving for long. In Genesis 6:5-6, the Scripture says:

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.

But do you know that despite the pain and the grief, the Father is still the most joyful personality there is. How is that possible? He’s abounding in forgiveness. The moment the boy returned home, the father “was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

Henry Nouwen, a Catholic priest of blessed memory, said: “It is through constant forgiveness that we become like the Father.” The best part of this story for me is the generosity of the father. If the father had only forgiven the son and given him a job, that would have been an amazing grace, but he went further:

The father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.  For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate (Luke 15:22-24). Wow!

Friend, that’s the Father you and I have been called to know and be like. If you’re a father and all you know is the grief aspect of fatherhood; maybe you still struggle with forgiveness and generosity. I pray this same grace of our Father God be imparted to you as we celebrate this year’s Father’s Day.