Romans 8:15-17 (New Living Translation)
So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God's very own children, adopted into his family--calling him "Father, dear Father." For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God's children. And since we are his children, we will share his treasures--for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
I've been thinking about fathers. Maybe that is partly because tomorrow is the American holiday called Father's Day and I have been missing my own father, gone many years now.
God is Spirit, and thus God is genderless. However, there are many metaphors for God. "Father" is the one term Jesus used most and the one many of us learned first. For far too many people, a father image is not all that positive. Many dads are too wrapped up with sports, buddies, or work. Sometimes earthly fathers are unavailable, angry, critical, chemically dependent or abusive.
This scripture in Romans reminds us that our God has chosen us, adopted us into a family. God longs to be the perfect parent to us, the one none of us had and none of us can be, in spite of our best efforts. God wants a loving, accepting relationship. God wants to comfort us when we are afraid or alone or in pain, as a good and loving father does with his children. God also wants us to trust and obey him, as is the desire of every good parent. Our Father-God is patient and kind, teaching and loving and taking joy in us as we grow.
Someone said that we are living in a time when father hunger is like a national epidemic. I know that loving, caring, patient fathers are in short supply! But even the best of earthly dads cannot provide us what we need--cannot truly give us the affection, protection and unconditional acceptance our hearts crave.
I think the hunger for God is placed there by Father God himself. It willl continue until we realize that God is the ultimate good Father for whom we all long. We will be forever searching until we find our rest in God.