By Rebekah Seow
It was during my time studying overseas that I gained a deeper understanding of God the Father. As I went to bed each night, I imagined God tucking me into bed and reassuring me that He watches over me. My personal experience of God’s goodness echoes the ever-present, loving and truthful character of God which we know from scripture, and from what Jesus revealed to us.
What do we know of God the “Father”?
In the Old Testament, when the Prophet Moses asked for the name of God, God said, “I AM WHO I AM” (in Hebrew, YHWH). This divine name suggests that God is always present and that God alone IS. God is the past, the present and the future. He is everlasting and faithful to Himself and His promises.
As Creator of heaven and earth, God alone imparts true knowledge of every created thing in relation to Himself. In other words, God is Truth. Jesus came to “bear witness to the truth” (Jn 18:37), and revealed to us that God is Father.
God is Love. We are mere human — who are we in comparison to God? And yet, God desires for us to share in His divine life! Even when the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, turned away from God and doubted His truth, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to redeem us from death so that we may one day share in His eternal goodness.
As “Father”, God is good and loving to all His children. In fact, God’s parental tenderness can also be expressed through the image of motherhood (CCC 239). However, we should remember that God transcends the distinction between human sexes — He is not human; He is neither man nor woman. He transcends human fatherhood and motherhood although He is their origin and standard.
Through the grace of Baptism, we become adopted sons and daughters of God. Hence, with Jesus, we call God “Father”.
What does it mean to be a son or daughter of “God the Father”?
As the perfect Father cares for His child, God wants us to trust that He will provide for us. Jesus says, “What father among you would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or hand him a snake instead of a fish? Or hand him a scorpion if he asked for an egg? If you then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13)
God wants us to share in His divine life — but that entails having full faith and confidence that God the Father is who He says He is, and that He can do what He says He can do. In the words of St Thérèse of Lisieux,
“You make me think of a little child that is learning to stand but does not yet know how to walk. In his desire to reach the top of the stairs to find his mother, he lifts his little foot to climb the first step. It is all in vain, and at each renewed effort he falls… All God asks of you is good will. From the top of the ladder He looks lovingly upon you, and soon, touched by your fruitless efforts, He will Himself come down, and, taking you in His Arms, will carry you to His Kingdom never again to leave Him.”
In trusting God, I allow Him to shower me with love, just as a perfect Father would. At the same time, loving God as a Father entails listening to Him in the Word, and obeying Him, through being disciples of His Son, Jesus.