He wanted more. He wanted something else. Though surrounded by a multitudinous army who unceasingly lavished Him with resounding praise, He craved a smaller audience—an audience of one. Someone He could talk to—face-to-face, soul-to-soul. In a intimate place … like … a garden.
And so He dreamed and planned and designed. And out of nothing, using only words, He created a home—an explosion of microscopic grandeur. But this one—soul of His soul, breath of His breath—He formed intricately, purposefully, with His own hands.
And He became a Father.
In a single moment, He knew love.
Joy of joys! Better than merely “good”! One of His heart!
He called this one Adam. Man. Red from the earth. A name to remind this one that without the breath of God, he would cease to be—he would return to dust.
He provided for this Adam a beautiful garden, supplied with every item the dust part of him required for survival. And He provided His own presence, necessary for the God part of him to thrive.
He assigned Adam a job: tend the garden.
He warned Adam of the one choice that would siphon his breath and doom him back to dust. He protected Adam, as long as he said no to that one choice.
Father wanted man to love Him back—if even a fraction. He wanted this child to experience the same ecstasy He felt. And so He secreted His presence from man—a divine hide-and-seek—hoping Adam would long for Him and seek him out. And, like any good father, He always allowed man to find Him.
He left that one tree to test man’s love. Would Adam trust Him enough to choose obedience? Would Adam look at everything God had provided for him and know deep satisfaction? Would Adam crave the presence of God above all else?
But if, heaven forbid, Adam chose the one thing God forbade, then God was ready. Man would have to leave the garden—banished from His tangible presence. But some day He’d provide a way back. It would be a long journey, but Father knew the way.
He would always be Father. He would always provide—though now that provision would require toil and bitterness. He would always protect—though sometimes His ways would seem cruel. He would always warn and instruct and guide—reducing His love to a set of laws and consequences. He would have to enforce these laws because man would fail—over and over and over.
Eventually, He would surrender His own breath so man could be redeemed. But He would revive and send it forth again as a Spirit. His very Spirit would breathe renewal to the Father-child communion He’d always longed for. And once again, Father would embrace His children. Though marred and scarred, they’d be back. Back in His arms.
And that’s all that mattered.
I don’t know what kind of human father you had. No matter how wonderful, or how horrible, he can’t begin to compare to Father God.
Father God designed you, created you, and named you His own special name. He walks with you, plays hide-and-seek with you, and stirs a longing for Him deep within your soul.
He provides for your every need. He guides you, instructs you, expects obedience of you, and disciplines you. He knows your frailties, and understands you are but dust.
He died for you, forgave you, rose again for you, and redeemed you. He set things right for you and now dwells moment-by-moment with you.
He comforts you, holds you, sings over you, and assures you.
You are His joy of joys, apple of His eye, breath of His breath, love of His love.
You are His child.
We all watch ourselves parent just like we were parented. Don’t we? Unfortunately, our parents fell short—some more than others—leaving us less than adequate models to follow. But God in Himself has provided a better—a perfect—example. To become the best moms possible, we need to study how God parents.
For the next several weeks, we’ll look at God’s role as Father in the Bible. I have a feeling we’ll find that God didn’t necessarily employ a set of skills or follow a list of “how to’s”. I think we’ll find He parented out of the deep recesses of His heart.
I don’t know about you, but I love delving deep into God’s heart and learning what makes it tick. So, pull out your shovels, and let’s dig in. We’ll start next week, going back to just after the very beautiful-but-sad beginning. We’ll look at the ways God parented the children He’d just kicked out of their garden home. Though they may not always have known it, He did not send them out alone.
I look forward to discovering with you what He was up to.
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.
Genesis 1:27-31 NIV