YouVersion App popped up this verse on my phone this morning:”As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him”(Psalm 103:13 NIV).
Now, the central message of the verse is a father’s compassion for his child(ren). Yet, keeping an open mind, you might see how this verse may not connect for many who didn’t have a literal father around while growing, or a father who simply had no compassion on his children then and also now.
Trying to equate our father’s love as God’s might simply put God at a far distance in our mind depending on how we feel about our father’s love then and now.
The verse ends with the notion that God’s love is for those who fear Him, something that may make most fathers feel righteous at having their children fear them, and make the children feel right with God for fearing their father.
I’m sure that King David meant well and not evil in his overall assessment of things as he tried to show what love is like to him.
But with a little bit of more of light from the gospel, we learn that God’s love banishes fear (1 John 4:18). We learn that God’s love is for both those who fear God and those who don’t (John 3:16, Matthew 5:44-46). We also learn that God’s demonstration of love goes beyond what an earthly father can demonstrate (Romans 5:5-8). King David was trying to share what naturally we can maybe grasp.
But with the aid of the Holy Spirit, whether we were raised literally fatherless or that we were fatherly abused in our upbringing , we can come to understand that the example of a Father’s love starts with God’s love for us even when we didn’t know Him. So what King David couldn’t do, though he may have wanted, Christ did with the strength of God’s Spirit. He loved us and brought us the full knowledge of such love, God’s love for us.
So if, today as fathers, we struggle to naturally love or show love to our children due to the absence of such when we were children ourselves, we can still draw strength and example from God who once said proudly regarding Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17).
In all earthly reality, we know expressions as such may never come from the lips of parents, especially in the presence of their children. It’s not that some don’t love their children, but may rather struggle in expressing such love in all the many ways that would be collectively beneficial to the children at any age.
As cliche as this may sound, it is the only source of inspiration left for any parent or child to know and share love even when they feel deprived of it then and now: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)
Love loves. Love cares. Love admires. Love covers a multitude of sins.
“We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
Happy Father’s Day!