The Heart of The Father
Updated: Apr 5
My dad is probably the most interesting, intelligent and compassionate person. If you are privileged to know him, you understand what I mean. Born in 1939 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he had the kind of life adventures which beg to be written - maybe even produced as a movie. He grew up in Illinois, became a professional fishing guide in the summer months, rescued a raccoon (Squirt) who became his beloved pet, had too many snakes (my poor grandparents), served in the marine corps, was educated at the University of Illinois, Utah State University and Vanderbuilt, and served a joint special program of the Peace Corps and the Smithsonian in Ethiopia. He had his own consulting business, became the chief economist for the American Mining Association, worked for our federal government in water resources, and was the liaison between the federal government and over 100 Native American tribes helping them with their land issues. He actually assisted the Quileute tribe in Washington get some of their land back from the Olympic National Park. When he retired, my dad was given the honored White Buffalo Blanket for his amazing work with our native people.
I know this is more like a resume, but interwoven throughout these experiences and accomplishments are what will not be written in any earthly resume: Caring for abandoned animals, rescuing a wild horse from an illegal slaughter house and then sent her to be trained and adopted out where she became a wonderful children's horse. He was a go-to person for the advocacy of wild horses near a local military base and arranged their emergency rescue during a range fire. He rescued me from a bad relationship in Europe and bought an expensive ticket home, again rescued me from hundreds of bad decisions, forgave me from all those decisions no questions asked, opened up their home for me many times and ordered rest and recovery, gave who-knows-how-much money to us and his grandchildren just because, "sneak fixing" my and my own children's vehicles (we sometimes have to NOT tell him about something because we know in 24 hours, it will be repaired by him). I know without a doubt that no matter where I am in this world, my dad will help me. Imagine how much more our heavenly Father, moved by compassion, comes to our rescue time and time again.
In Exodus 33:18, Moses is asking God to reveal Himself to him. God could have said a lot about Himself: Mighty, amazing, strong, wise. Instead, He revealed that He is gracious and compassionate: The Hebrew words chanan and racham. Chanan means to bend or stoop in kindness, to have mercy on, to show favor toward someone. The Hebrew word racham means to love deeply, have mercy, be compassionate and have tender affection for someone. Of all the attributes God wants us to first know about Himself, these are the two. When Jesus came, He became these attributes in the flesh, showing us the way back to the Father. Jesus was trying to tell the people during His ministry on earth that He and the Father were one - everything He was doing was the heart of His Father. Yes, it was good to keep the commandments, but no, not at the expense of mercy and compassion. Yes, it was good and correct to be holy but no, you will not be defiled by reaching out to the unclean and lost. People were confused and had a distorted interpretation of the heart of God and many still do.
God had set a pattern from the beginning in order for humanity to understand His heart. He made animals and wanted to see what Adam would name them. Can you imagine His expectation and excitement sharing all that His hands had made? (Especially when he got to the wildebeast? Whoa.) He gave Adam the cute little hedgehog and held His breath wondering what he will name it. I'm sure he gave a little cheer and clapped His hands when he picked a name for the hippos. He would walk in the garden with Adam and Eve and they loved each other. Then sin interrupted this relationship and over the course of time, Jesus came back to the garden and put His heel on the head of the serpent. Some people think that Jesus dreaded the crucifixion because a Roman crucifixion was so horrific. It was absolutely the worst way to die, in fact some historians have documented first century sources stating suicide was preferred to death on a cross. But I am fully convinced that the torment for Jesus was that for the first time in His life, He knew He would be separated from the Father. He had to become all of our sin and for that time on the cross, His Father had to look away. Jesus became the serpent on the pole in Numbers 21:9. But this was the heart of the Father; to buy us back and bring us safely home.
I have recently heard discussions of various teachings of the end times - some people have been outright terrified and some have just never been taught the truth. There is a plethora of information on the internet but one aspect that is often overlooked is the true character of God. If you are His child and you have an intimate relationship with Jesus, He is your Abba Daddy! Jesus said; "I will not leave you as orphans, I will come for you." (John 14:18) He said that He will come and get us so where He is, we can be also! (John 14;1-4) Nahum 1:2 Says God's wrath is reserved for His enemies. Romans 1:18 The wrath of God is revealed for His enemies, 1 Thessalonians 5:9 The righteous are NOT appointed to wrath. Jesus took the wrath for us! This is our joy during Easter! Not only so we don't have to go to hell, but so we will not be punished with unbelievers when the time of the tribulation comes. Jesus was separated from the Father so we don't have to be. The root of the confusion with the comings of Jesus is the lack of understanding of the heart of God. (There are actually two appearings of Jesus- one is the rapture, which is His coming for those who love Him and are watching for Him and the second is His second coming at the end of the tribulation to set up His Kingdom on earth for a thousand years. (Rev. 20:4-6) His heart is not to pour out His wrath on His children. His word says He reserves His wrath for His enemies ( Nahum 1:2, Isaiah 13:9, John 3:36, Ephesians 5:6). 1 Thessalonians 1: 10 says it best; "...To wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come." The word "rapture" was a translation from the original Greek word harpazo which means "the physical and violent snatching away out of danger" (Thayer's New Testament Greek-English Lexicon). The rapture is our heavenly Father snatching us out of danger's way and bringing us safely home.
I am convinced that my earthly father has a kind heart and would do anything within his power to do. But I am more convinced that my heavenly Father IS mercy, grace and compassion and will do all that His word says He will do. The time of tribulation IS NOT for His true children. In this world we will have tribulation - sickness, accidents, poverty, persecutions - but we are to take heart because Jesus on the cross and now by His Spirit living in us has overcome! (John 16:33) In this life we are learning to conquer, in this life we are learning how to be victorious in Him, and in this life we learn to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. If you are in Christ, your Father is the sweetest, most loving, most compassionate and caring Father you could ever even dream up. I can tell you based on the word and His character revealed in the word that He is a good, good Father who will NOT leave His children, the Bride of His dear son Jesus, behind to suffer a wrath He is pouring out on the world. Can you see how silly that is when you consider it in light of who He is revealed in His word? God wants and desires us to KNOW Him. Consider this scripture in Jeremiah 9: 24; "Let Him who glories, glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgement and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight, says the Lord." God wants us to understand Him; in fact this should be our deepest desire because it pleases Him. While you may not know my dad, Jack, I hope you will make it your desire to know the heart of the Father God. If you do, then have peace because He is sending Jesus to come and snatch us away very, very soon.
So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him, He will appear a second time apart from sin, for salvation.
*This is a classic Shirley Temple and a sweet example of a father's heart for his child and her love for him.
*Cover picture credit given to Lorraine Cormier at Pixabay (https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=linkattribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2770301)