How great the Father's love for us...

Dad and Me
My Father and Me
Easter 1950
He's a mess. His six-foot frame stretches gaunt and frail under the hospital bed's starched white sheet, his bare feet sticking out the bottom uncovered. He's badly in need of a shave and long overdue for a hair cut. The tubing that delivers oxygen through prongs in his nostrils has rubbed the skin raw where it drapes over his ears too-large for his face, and the coke-bottle lens of his glasses magnifies the fear in his eyes.

And it breaks my heart.

I'm nearly fifty when Alzheimer's plays tricks with his mind and emphysema clogs his lungs and he tells me he's afraid of the nurses - afraid they'll take his oxygen away or be mean. I help him scoot up in bed, fluff the pillows, tuck in the top sheet to cover his feet and rearrange and loosen the oxygen tubing off the raw creases behind his earlobes, but I can't convince him there's nothing to fear. 

I reach for his hand, squeeze gently, and tell him I love him, and for the first time I can remember, he says he loves me, too.  I wonder if he knows who I am. 


I loved my father, and I know he loved me, too - he just never knew how to show it. I was never a daddy's little princess. No bedtime stories, daddy-daughter dates, or the benefit of his counsel about boys or college. I never knew what it meant to be loved and cherished by my father - as a child or an adult.

It's no wonder the confusion of my young adult years as I bounced between the lure of feminism and the unhealthy need for a man's affection. It's only grace that drew me away and grace that protected my heart from sowing bitterness toward the father who'd neglected me when I needed him the most. But the reality is that my experience as an unloved daughter of an earthly father blocked my comprehension of what it means to be a daughter of God - the Most High King - who, as David Platt writes in Follow Me, saturates us as his children with his affection. 

In chapter 5, Platt focuses on what it means for followers of Christ to be the beloved, adopted children of God, and it is balm for the soul of this woman-child of sixty-two who still needs this assurance.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! I John 3.1
Without question, our status before God was settled at the moment we turned from our sin and ourselves and trusted in Jesus as Savior and Lord. But our lives are based on the love relationship we enjoy and experience every moment of every day as God our Father saturates us as his children with his affection. p.99
I think of my cravings for affection as a young adult when Platt says that the trigger of sin {in Genesis 3} involved the man and and woman looking to the things of this world to satisfy them apart from their Creator, and when Jesus said, I am the bread of life, he was telling the crowds who had gathered to hear him, If you want to be fulfilled, put your faith in me.

I was raised in the church. I knew the Lord's prayer by heart, but the gap I experienced between a distant, unloving earthly father and "Our Father, which art in Heaven" created a craving for affection that I foolishly turned to the world to fulfill and a disconnect to God as father that left me vulnerable to the influence of feminism.

I understand why some women in the church, whose earthly fathers were unable to be the loving fathers God created them to be, struggle to see themselves as beloved daughters, resisting to call God Father and submit to his loving authority and pefect design, but the answer isn't to create a gender-neutral god, but to follow the Jesus of Scripture, to hide under the Father's protective wings, and to allow Him to lavish them with abundant love and heal their wounded hearts.
...amid all these pleasures we are wired to pursue, we must always remember that our deepest craving is not for something but for Someone. p.109
Unfortunately, as Platt states, the pleasures, pursuits, plaudits, and possessions of this world seem far more enticing...and the lives of professing Christians are oftentimes virtually indistinguishable from the lives of non-Christians.

As we begin to comprehend the love of God for His children, we discover that Jesus is the supreme source of satisfaction, and we want nothing apart from him, and as Platt reminds us, we begin to trust Christ to change our affections from the things of this world to Christ alone. It's this change in affections that increases our joy in Him from the inside out and is manifested in our increasing desire for God's Word, communion with Him in prayer, worship, and every other discipline of the faith.
This is the heart of following Jesus: enjoying God as Father through Christ the Son. And when this is a reality in life, then your reason for living is utterly revolutionized. p. 121

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