I was recently reading through the book of John when my eyes fell on these words: “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God” (John 20:17). This is the amazing declaration Jesus made to Mary Magdalene, just moments after she came to the stunning realization that He had risen from the dead.
Jesus’ words are truly good news that speak to a deep need we all have inside of us. Every last one of us needs a father.
God didn’t flip a coin to decide whether or not to relate to us as a father or a mother. I believe it was intentional. God knew that once mankind got off track and fell into the brokenness of sin, the number of godly fathers serving their families would be severely lacking.
And the results have been devastating.
In the US, for instance, research shows that children from fatherless homes are 32 times more likely to run away from home, 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders, 9 times more likely to drop out of high school or end up in state-operated institutions, 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.
In his book Faith of the Fatherless, Paul Vitz points out the connection between atheism and the lack of a father figure. He argues that one of the major sources of the world’s prominent militant atheists is ”the absence of a good father.”
Part of the good news of Jesus is that God doesn’t want us to go through our lives lacking the presence and love of a father. Our heavenly Father wants to fill those places where our earthly fathers (even the good ones) fall short.
He wants us to know Him as our Father, just as Jesus does.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Exodus 3:1-22
Read Matthew 18:10-14 to see how serious God takes His role as our heavenly Father.
Where do you need God to be a father to you? What are the characteristics of God the Father that mean the most to you?