Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Our Father in Heaven

Do you love your father? Too many can easily be forgiven for saying "no." Sociologists, law enforcement officers, and preachers agree that there's an epidemic of biological fathers who have no interest whatsoever in their children, or whose interest is all the wrong kind: coldly demanding, physically violent, or sexually intimate.

Still, it's not always the father's fault when the parent-child relationship fails. Growing up, most of us had times when we hated Dad (or whoever was head of the household) simply for not giving us whatever we wanted and letting us do whatever we pleased. The best of earthly parents can be helpless against human selfishness that could care less who's right so long as it gets its own way. A really determined case may repay family for years of wise care and concern by telling them, Prodigal-Son-style, to give him his share of the savings account and get out of his life.

If we need any proof that no father is good enough to force rebellious children to love him, we need only look at the way the human race treats its perfect Heavenly Father. He gives us air, sunshine, food, and life; He tells us the best way to live for our own good; and the vast majority of us respond with, "If You won't give me what I want when I want it, go away and quit nagging me!" Even those who genuinely want to live according to His direction can hardly get through a day without whining at Him to hurry up with the reward already. He would be perfectly justified in writing us all off as hopeless.

In the face of that fact, the lengths He goes to to find and keep us are all the more incredible.

Our Father in Heaven, all honor You rate;
Though men may impress us, You only are great.
Beyond reach of evil, above selfish deed,
You reign, all untainted, to guide and to lead.

Our Father in Heaven, though Master above,
You still stoop to meet us with purest of love.
Your heart is so gentle; Your touch is so kind;
Your arms are so tender; You keep us in mind.

Our Father in Heaven, You see when we stray,
And reach down to turn us back into your way.
Lord, keep our hearts humble to hear Your command,
Lest You have to strike us with heavier hand.

Our Father in Heaven, You know we are weak:
So eager to wander, so thoughtless to speak,
So helpless ourselves to accomplish a thing:
Yet still You work through us by power that You bring.

Our Father in Heaven, You give all we need;
You soothe us, empower us, refresh us, and feed.
Forgive us the times when we moan we want more,
And open our hearts to the riches You pour.

Our Father in Heaven, You rule without end;
We look for Your city from Heaven to descend,
When all of earth’s trials pass forever away—
Our Father in Heaven, we long for that day!

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