If you have wounds in your life because of a less-than-perfect father, you are not alone.
Having ministered to women – and couples – for more than 30 years, I’ve heard the stories of absent fathers, abusive fathers, emotionally distant fathers, and demanding or controlling fathers, all of which can negatively impact our perception of our Heavenly Father.
Scripture says God’s ways are “perfect” (Psalm 18:30), that He is a “faithful God who does no wrong,” and is “upright and just“ (Deuteronomy 32:4). That makes Him the perfect Father you never had.
If you didn’t have a father who was approachable, loving, and had your very best in mind, God – as your Heavenly Father – is waiting to more than make up for what you never had. Here are 10 ways God is the perfect Father, in case yours wasn’t:
1. His patience and kindness never runs out.
If you’ve ever felt you used up whatever patience or kindness your dad once had, you don’t have to worry about overextending your Heavenly Father. Psalm 103:17 says, “from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children.” And Psalm 106:1 says, “for he is good; his love endures forever.”
That means not only that God’s patience and kindness never wear out, but that God’s ability to forgive you never wanes either. Psalm 103:12 assures us, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” That means your Heavenly Father also never holds a grudge or brings up your past.
2. He is always approachable.
God never has a bad day, is never in a sour mood, and is never too busy or distracted for His child. When you are in relationship with His Son, Christ Jesus, you have complete access to your Heavenly Father’s ear, His heart, His focused attention. Hebrews 4:16 tells us we can “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Furthermore, Psalm 121:3 tells us that God will not let our feet slip because He never slumbers. And in Psalm 138:3, David sang, “When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me,” letting us know God is never too busy to hear our cries and come to our rescue.
3. You will never have to earn his love.
You may have felt that you had to earn your father’s love and respect by accomplishing great things to make him proud of you. God is not a father like that. Romans 5:8 tells us that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
While we were still sinners. While we were still blowing it. While we were not measuring up. While we were oblivious to Him and His love, He sent His Son to die for us. That is unconditional, sacrificial love and it is unlike anything you can experience on this earth. God is a Father who chose to love you and you didn’t do a thing to earn it.
4. You will never blow it enough to lose his love.
Since there was nothing you could do to earn your Heavenly Father’s love, there is nothing you can do to lose it. Romans 8:38-39 tells us, “Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
In other words, no circumstance, seen or unseen power, person, action, or inaction on your part can separate you from God’s love. That is powerful. And that is a promise that only your Heavenly Father has the power to fulfill. Every person on this earth who claims to love you and never leave you will still be separated from you (at least temporarily) through their death or yours. But God’s Word promises that even in death there is no separation from God’s love – ever ( 2 Corinthians 5:8).
5. He has your very best in mind.
It’s natural for humans to be selfish and consider themselves before anyone else. So, if you had a dad who was unselfish and willing to sacrifice his own comfort for yours, you had a gift – a glimpse of what Your Heavenly Father is like. Scripture tells us, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” ( Romans 8:32).
In Matthew 7:11, Jesus said: “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” God not only has the ability to give you anything you desire (as long as it’s good for you), He also knows your situation down the road and what will be best for you in the long run, as well as eternally.
6. He loves you enough to discipline you.
You might have a hard time with this, especially if you were disciplined by your own father out of his anger, rather than his love. God’s Word says in Proverbs 3:11-12: “do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”
Scripture also says, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them” ( Proverbs 13:24). Have you ever had God refuse to give you something or take something away that you loved? Trust that your Heavenly Father was either protecting you from something or disciplining you out of love, or both.
7. His timing is perfect.
God doesn’t make mistakes. Nor does He forget. And unlike human fathers, His timing is always perfect. When He withholds something from you, it’s not necessarily because He’s angry or punishing you, or just not listening to the concerns on your heart. Scripture tells us in Psalm 84:11, “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
If you’re walking uprightly and you’re asking God for a good thing and He’s not delivering, it either isn’t truly good for you, or it isn’t time. Trust Him. Trust what He knows. Trust His timing. And trust the process He’s allowing you to go through. He knows how to give good gifts at just the right time.
8. He gives wisdom generously.
Did you have a father who held back in any way? Who only gave you advice when you applied it the last time he doled it out? Or who only gave you the bare minimum of what you needed – or not even that – to teach you a lesson or because he didn’t trust you with the gift? Your Heavenly Father is not like that.
James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” That verse means your Heavenly Father will never say, “I gave you wisdom once before and you didn’t use it, so I’m not giving you any more.” He gives wisdom generously. To all. Without finding fault.
9. He lets you make your own choices.
While God has expectations of you, like your earthly father might have, He doesn’t disown you or back out of your life when you select a different path. A wise, loving, and patient Father, He waits. And He “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” ( Romans 8:28). That means when you come back to His best plan for your life, you find that it’s something you really wanted, too, and you find He is able to use those mistakes for good in your life from that point on.
10. He knows you intimately.
It is one of the deepest needs of the human race. To be intimately known. Yet sometimes we hide who we really are out of fear of rejection or that someone may lose interest in us when they discover what we are really like, warts and all. Scripture says your Heavenly Father knows you intimately.
In Psalm 139, David said, “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways” (Psalm 139:1-3). God knows your thoughts before you think them, your words before you say them, and your actions before you carry them out. And with all that intimate knowledge of you, He continues to love you like the perfect Father.
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