What should our relationship with our heavenly Father be like? Too often I think it is like the relationship the younger son had with his father in the parable in Luke 15:11-32 (included at the end of this post). That is, He is to us as our provider, but no more. We want things from Him, but we don’t want Him; and we could care less what He desires from us.
And so we pray to Him saying, “Father,” when we need something or when we are in trouble and desire Him to bail us out. We don’t very often think that He loves us and desires our fellowship; we only think about what we can get from Him.
The end of the parable shows us well the Father’s heart. It teaches us how He truly loves us and has compassion for us. In the parable, when the younger son returned home after having been in sin and rebellion, the father never thought to scold or lecture the son, only to express his love for him and that He was so glad to have him back.
I think the relationship that God most desires to have with us is a relationship of love. Yes, He is also our provider and protector and guide and teacher, but I think these aspects of God should be secondary to our love relationship with Him. In fact, our love relationship with Him should undergird and direct all the other aspects of our relationship with Him—so that we say of Him…
He is our loving provider.
He is our loving protector.
He is our loving guide.
And He is our loving teacher.
He loves to be near us, and He wants us to desire His nearness as much as He desires ours.
David did. In Psalm 73:28 he said,
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Thy works
I also like verse 25. He said,
Whom have I in heaven but Thee?
And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth.
God our Father desires to be near us and to fellowship with us. If you don’t have that kind of a relationship with Him, listen closely to His heart calling to you. He is saying,
Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.
Luke 15:11-32 (in the NIV)
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons.
12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.
14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.
15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.
16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!
18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’
20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.
24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.
26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.
27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.
29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.
30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'”