The story is told of the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther finding a farmer by the side of the road looking as if the whole world had just caved in on top of him. The man looked awfully anxious! Luther, inquiring about his condition asked, “Why do you look so depressed?” The farmer replied, “Well, last night there was a fire at my farm which destroyed my house and my barns which were filled with a bumper crop.” The Reformer further inquired, “Do you know the Apostle’s Creed?” After affirming that he did, Luther asked the man to recite it. The man started, “I believe in God . . .” “Stop! Say it louder,” said Luther. “I believe in God . . .” “Louder still and with much more conviction,” Luther insisted. Now speaking at the top of his voice the farmer recited with clarity and conviction, “I believe in God the Father . . .” Having evoked the farmers response, Luther went on to communicate that if the farmer truly believed what he had just stated, that the God of heaven and earth was his Father, then even if he lost 100 farms, it could not possibly make a difference, since God would easily provide him a 1000 more.
To believe in God the Father is a doctrine that makes a difference. To know that one lives under the umbrella of God’s fatherly care and protection should halve our sorrows, double our peace and triple our joys. This was certainly the argument Jesus made in a discussion with His disciples on the issue of worry and anxiety (Matt. 6:25-34). Addressing their anxiety over life and the future, Jesus reminds them that just as their heavenly Father takes care of the birds of the air, tiny and transitory creatures, He will carefully care for them whom He values more (Matt. 6:26). Addressing their anxiety over life and the future, Jesus again reminds them that their heavenly Father is not a capricious deity, but a caring Deity who governs life providentially with special attention paid to the needs of His people (Matt. 6:31-32). The mythical gods of the Gentiles could not be trusted; they were uncaring, unholy, unfaithful, and uninvolved because they were less than human. Worry was natural for the Gentile, but it was unbecoming of the follower of Jesus Christ who had God as their Father.
God is not a deadbeat dad; He is a good good Father. God our Father is the kind of God who welcomes us home even after we have failed Him (Luke 15:20-24), protects us against those who would harm us (John 10:29), rewards our obedience (Matt. 6:4), comforts us in our struggles (2 Cor. 1:3-7), sends good gifts from above (James 1:17), and provides for our every need (Matt. 6:32-33). Given that reality, worry is both sinful and slanderous! When you and I worry we misrepresent the good name and character of God before others. When we become anxious about life and the future, we act as if we are orphans or that God is a deadbeat dad.
As the father of three wonderful daughters it is not hard for me to remember to love them or to think of where they are and what they need. I am certainly not a perfect father, but it is not my habit to forget my children. They know that and it comforts them.
God is a good good Father and it is not His habit to forget His children (Psalm 103:13)!