I love being a dad.
One of the reasons is that being a dad has helped me to understand the love of God in a better, deeper way.
Here's what I mean:
Before I was a dad, I thought of God as stern, hard to please, and critical.
He was just waiting for me to make a mistake, or to be imerfect in some way, and then BAM! He'd get me!
I always felt this suspicion that I was displeasing to Him, and that I could not measure up.
I walked around defeated, believing that this was the best I could hope for.
...and let me be clear: This was AFTER I had come to Jesus as my Savior and Lord! I understood the theology behind grace and the fact that "Jesus paid it all", but I guess it didn't really sink in.
Then I had kids.
As they began to grow, I began to realize how much I loved them--more than I ever thought possible! I wanted what was best for them, I wanted to encourage them, to help them be secure in my love, and to KNOW, beyond and doubt, that I was their dad, and they belonged with me. They did NOT have to be insecure, they did NOT have to 'earn' my love, and they could not lose it!
I realized that God wanted me to know the same things!
I began to realize that, just as I loved it when my kids jumped on my lap, or wanted to spend time with me, so God loves that too! "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)
I realized that, when my kids asked for gifts (for Christmas or Birthdays, for example), and I thought they were good gifts, I took pleasure in blessing them...much like my Heavenly Father actually ENJOYS blessing me with good gifts!"So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him." (Matthew 7:11)
In fact, there have been times when I surprised them with some blessing that they hadn't even asked for--much like the Lord does for us! "...your Father knows what you need before you ask him." (Matthew 6:8)
Bottom Line: I used to live on some level in fear of my Heavenly Father, but now--since becoming a father myself--I've learned that "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him...There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment." (1st John 4:16-18)
Because of our Heavenly Father's perfect love, we need not fear; we need not feel insecure; we can be at peace, secure, and ENJOY HIS LOVE!
May you--whether you are a father or not--REST in that Love!