When you think about God, does a loving father come to your mind? I can relate to this image for I experienced the great love and devoted care of an earthly father. If, however, this was not your experience, the Bible clearly addresses this issue by saying God planned your birth no matter the circumstances. In fact, some of God’s actions resemble an intrigued and full-engaged father. Read these promises:
You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life.
Long before he laid down earth’s foundation he had us in mind and settled on us as the focus of his love.
I have taken care of you since I was born and I will take care of you even when your hair has turned gray.
If God knows us so thoroughly, he must also have the desire to listen to our prayers, suffer alongside us when we are in pain, and stay ever present with us as we go about living our lives.
The Message Bible moves us even further along this path of understanding by paraphrasing a verse in the book of Romans that says, “The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us.” While a loving and caring father is a role model that serves us for a lifetime, sometimes we long for God to protect and shield us, to be powerful when we feel weak. In recent weeks, with the rain and wind, the snowfall and freezing temperatures, he has displayed enormous power and showed himself to also be God the almighty.
During my childhood I often made summertime trips to the Midwest with my brother and parents to visit relatives. And because my dad supported us on a school teacher’s salary, all luxuries were set aside by necessity. Rather than flying, we packed our car for a straight shot — driving from the West Coast, through the desert Southwest, and on to Oklahoma — arriving tired and sweaty, but happy to see everyone.
During each trip I watched God almighty in action. I saw his depth in the Grand Canyon, his purity in the White Sands of New Mexico, and his power in the thunderstorms that frequently overtook our car.
Countless times I recall watching threatening thunderclouds roll across the skies in the very direction we were headed. We would look for the lightening and watch for the edge of the storm — knowing the rain and wind would eventually overtake our family car.
As much as we loved the storms and enjoyed playing amateur weather forecasters, we occasionally grew concerned. I recall thunder so loud I would cover my ears. At times my dad was forced to pull to the side of the road as our wipers could not keep up with the torrents of rain hitting our windshield. I also recall hopping up into the front seat to sit on the confident lap of my dad, where I always felt safe from any storm.
My most vivid lesson in the ways of God almighty came the night my young brother and I were put to bed upstairs at my great aunt’s house in Marlow, Okla. While my parents visited with other adults in the family downstairs, Brian and I contented ourselves by watching a huge oak tree sway outside the bedroom window. The air grew sticky and still and sleep evaded us as the summer storm brewed outside. Soon the branches began slapping against the window pane and the alarming sounds outside grew even louder. Torrents of raindrops pelted the roof, the room lit up with the brightest light I had ever seen, and the crack of thunder overhead sent us for the only shelter we could find — under a light sheet covering our legs. In seconds after hearing our pathetic wailing I recall hearing Dad lunge up the stairs and seeing him spring through the door to encircle us both in his protective arms.
The face of God can be almighty, but he is never just powerful. He will, at the scariest of moments, provide ways and people for us to experience his tender and protective, loving and compassionate nature. He will show himself to be God the loving father, all the while.