People who believe in God have all sorts of images of Him. Caricatures range from an icy and impersonal force who observes from a distance to an over-involved puppet master pulling all the strings and levers of the universe.
Even after reading lots of books and taking lots of classes my view of God can still get out of focus. But one thing has taught me more about God’s heart than anything: being a dad.
My sons are two years apart. Over the years they’ve had their share of fights, tussles, and scraps. They have competed with each other and against each other. They’ve always been near each other. This summer my older son Tyler was working and going to school in Illinois. My son Zack has been doing an internship in Virginia. It’s strange for me that there are so many miles between them.
This weekend Tyler is going to fly to DC and road trip back with Zack. But they’re not just going to drive back. They are going to be on a major league pilgrimage. They will be seeing baseball games in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, New York and Pittsburgh. It thrills my heart as a dad that they would save and plan and implement such an adventure…that they would go to such lengths to enjoy each other and a game they both love.
I think it thrills God when his children do the same. When we get along. When we enjoy each other. When we intentionally live our lives together that enrich relationships and share experiences.
Jesus did a lot of radical things but one of the most revolutionary was how he referred to his Father (and instructs us to do as well). He chose a name immersed in intimacy. He called Him “Abba,” dad or daddy. It invokes tenderness, interest, and care. That is a major shift for someone to make…to go from thinking of God as One who is as stern as a battle-scarred dictator to One who sees every drawing done in crayon as a work of art.