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The Heavenly Father Who...

Some time ago I was with a friend of mine who was going to be meeting his dad for the first time in over 25 years! My friend had no memories of him and wasn’t sure how he would feel or react when meeting him. When the moment came, there was obviously no hug or embrace, it was a simple handshake and the sharing of pleasantries and ironically introductions “Hello, I’m… (your dad)” – It was all very awkward.

On reflecting upon that time my friend said it was like meeting a stranger, he had no feelings towards him at all, and not much desire for his biological dad to be in his life! It was understandable after so many years of nothing.

Being a father myself has, on several occasions, caused me to think more about how God is Father. It is both mysterious and wonderful to know. The truth is, often the view and opinion we have of our earthly fathers can determine the view and opinion we have of our Heavenly Father, and it’s not always a favourable comparison.

Over the coming weeks we are going to look at how Our Heavenly Father views and sees us. I can assure you he hasn’t been absent, even if we have! There is no need for pleasantries or introductions here, God knows everything about us and perhaps we will get to understand him more deeply as well.

“Hello, I’m your Heavenly Father who…”

WELCOMES YOU

So, he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20

These words are part of the parable that Jesus tells known as ‘The Lost Son’. It’s a wonderful description of who God is and how he views his children. I’m sure for many of us, we know the story well, so I will focus more on what this snapshot from the parable tells us about our Heavenly Father.

The Father Welcomes us.

No ‘Ifs’, ‘Buts’, or ‘Maybes’. It’s not because of anything we have done or achieved or said or acted. It’s not about us, it’s about Him. It’s because God is filled with compassion, a love that can’t help itself, that springs into action at first sight. To embrace us and kiss us.

All of us.

He welcomed the one who had turned away, He welcomed the one who lived irresponsibly, He welcomed the one who wanted nothing to do with him, He welcomed the one who has wasted his wealth, He welcomed the one who went his own way. He welcomed him back.

There is nothing awkward here – God was looking while we were a long way off – he runs towards us, he hugs us. This is how the Father is, it’s his nature. I urge you to come back to him, to let him embrace you, to allow the Father to love you as his child.

And as he welcomes us with all this compassion. May we as a church welcome others in the same way.

– Mark.

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