A Father’s Example- Learning About Our Heavenly Father
By Steph Nickel
What can we learn about our heavenly father from the dads in our lives? Steph shares how the fathers in her life have brought her closer to God.
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A Father’s Example
Matthew 7:7-11 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (ESV)
I am uncertain whether my dad ever made a commitment to the Lord. You see … he had dementia for the last few years of his life. Still, in many ways, he set a good example for me. He also inadvertently pointed me toward my heavenly Father.
A Father’s Love
I was able to share a portion of this passage from Matthew 7 with my dad many years ago. I let him know that it was because he loved me and provided for me that I could accept the fact that God was a loving Father, One who could be counted on to take care of me and fulfill His promises.
Sure, my dad wasn’t perfect. Sadly, he and my mom didn’t have a very good relationship. But although my growing up years weren’t free of hurt and disappointment, I always knew that both my parents loved me. Because of this, it was much easier to believe God did, indeed, love me.
Despite the fact that my father wasn’t a believer when I was making plans for a post-secondary education, he did offer to pay for my four years at Bible College. He did so after I had worked the entire summer in a factory and was only able to save $1,000. He surprised me at the end of August that year by saying, “Use that money for clothes. I’ll pay your school fees.”
I was humbled and appreciative—the way we should all feel about the rich and abundant blessings God pours out.
Following A Father’s Example
My dad was a hard worker. He put in long days—even when he wasn’t well. Even now, I can’t say I’ve reached the same level of commitment. However, I do admire the example he set and try to emulate it, at least to a degree.
One last thing I’d like to mention about my dad is that he loved creation. He liked nothing more than to take long walks in the woods behind our home. Sadly, I wasn’t much for the outdoors. Much as I can’t say hiking and boating are my favourite pastimes even now, I do appreciate creation far more than I did when I was growing up. And I do wish I could share this newfound appreciation with my dad.
Although I can’t point my dad to the words of Romans 1:20, which say, “[God’s] invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made,” I do experience the truth of these words with my husband of almost 35 years.
Devoted To God
Dave is a believer and a devoted husband and father. In many ways, he is like my dad.
He, too, loves nature. Each year I can count on him to point me to the wonders of spring. Never before did I consider paying attention to the buds on the trees. Now I enjoy watching them grow and burst open, a beautiful reminder of God’s gift of new life.
Both men worked hard to provide for their family. Dave and I decided that I would stay home to raise our three children. Therefore, he had to take on various jobs so we could make ends meet. He still works hard. One of the reasons is so we can travel and spend time with our sons, who no longer live nearby. And if things come together the way our daughter wants them to, she will also be moving quite a distance away.
Dave has worked tirelessly to provide for our family by continuing in a job with the non-profit housing corporation connected to our church. This job was supposed to be temporary, but as of the long weekend in September, Dave will have been with EFBC for 33 years. Just like my dad, Dave is no stranger to hard work.
Plus, I am certain of my husband’s faith in the Lord Jesus. When things haven’t gone as Dave had hoped and the Lord didn’t open doors to fulltime ministry, he remained faithful to fulfill the responsibilities of his part-time position at church and volunteered as well. In the face of these and other hurts, Dave has refused to make rash decisions and walk away. He knows God can be trusted to guide his steps and he doesn’t intend to rush ahead of the Lord.
Setting a Good Example Like Our Heavenly Father
What an example he has set for our children—and for me!
These two important men in my life have been loving fathers. They reinforce to me that God the Father is who He claims to be and, in ways, reveals elements of His character through human fathers.
I realize that some of you may have had absent or abusive fathers and may find it difficult to embrace the concept of a loving heavenly Father. I encourage you to study scripture passages that refer to God the Father. I also encourage you to consider the positive male role models in your life.
And if you’re a father yourself, I challenge you to diligently seek to set a good example for your children and others as well.
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Images courtesy of:
Father and Son- NatoPereira
Father and Son Walking- Olichel
Father and daughter- DJMAX
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