God the Approachable Father
“Mom, mom, mom, MOM, MOM, MOMMMMMYYYYYYY!!”
Startled out of my daydreaming, I suddenly enter back into reality to my three-year-old daughter desperately trying to get my attention for the fifteenth time in just as many minutes. She wanted to ask me a vitally important question about the whereabouts of one of her favorite stuffed animals. “He’s in the washing machine, baby.” She inquired, “WHYYY??” I answered, “Well, he was pretty dirty, baby girl.” And the conversation continued…
Something struck me differently about this interaction. Never has my daughter asked permission to address me. Never has she withheld a request or thought since she learned how to talk. It just flows out of our relationship with one another. She’s my daughter – of course she is free to talk to me without asking permission or groveling. She’s never been shy. So, when something’s on her mind, it is important to her that I know about it. I love this about our relationship, as new as it still is, because I grew up in constant fear of my earthly father. He often responded to my thoughts and inquiries in harsh, annoyed, and judgmental tones. So I learned to hide instead. I hope she never feels like she must hide her feelings or thoughts from me out of fear of how I will respond to her.
This is parallel to our relationship with our heavenly Father. In Matthew 10, Jesus is talking to his disciples before they were sent out on mission in nearby towns. In verse 28 he says, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” This is an intense verse where Jesus casts down the idea of fearing man and redirects his listeners to rightly fear their holy and just God. But then, in the most beautiful way, Jesus brings words of warm comfort to thaw the icy grip of fear on the hearts of all who hear, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matt. 10:29-31)
Jesus says, in the same train of thought, do not fear your fellow man. Fear God, but don’t be afraid because your life is of great value to Father God. I’m still learning (slowly) that he is approachable (Hebrews 4:16), he is love in the most magnificent way (1 John 4:10), he is good (Psalm 86:5; Titus 3:4), and he is giving of the best gifts (Matt. 7:11; James 1:17).
When we feel the deep poverty of unworthiness or fear, let us remember that Jesus is worthy. And that, through Jesus we have been given the privilege of being called BELOVED sons and daughters (Eph. 1:5, 5:1), and have access to the Father at any time, for any reason. We were MADE for relationship with God and each other. Let us learn to boldly and freely communicate with our Father, who delights in his children (Zeph. 3:17).