A True Father
As I mature in my relationship with God, I realize He is more a Father than anything else. I know that's obvious to some but for me, I didn't grow up with a version of God that was like a Father. God was an all-powerful Being, who was in control of all things, and desired absolute submission. This is all true. However, He's not all-powerful without all-loving, and He's in control of all things but makes all things work for our good, and He desires absolute submission because in absolute submission to Him we find true freedom. God is a true Father. He's the truest Father. He is the Father of life itself. He's the Father of all creation and we are His most prized of all.
With that in mind, as we think about a good, trust-worthy, earthly, father, we know that he will never ask his child to do something if it's not in their best interest. A good father is always thinking of what is best for their child. It's the same with our Father, God. He wants the absolute best for us. Sometimes what is our child's best interest is not what our child "wants." In fact, it can be opposite and to what they want. Even good things aren't always "good" for our children. For example, a small child may not understand that too much candy will hurt their tummy. To the child, more candy equals best scenario. To the parent, less candy equals best scenario. The child, at this point, has to trust the parent's decision to not give them more candy. It's a simple example but I think it applies to our relationship with God. He never stops fathering us and as we grow in our relationship with Him, there will always be more complicated & higher-level scenarios in which we will have to learn to trust His decision. It will take much more relationship and connection with Him to look at a good scenario and ask God, is this your best for me or is there something else you have?
If God is a true Father then the thing that brings joy to His heart is when His children trust Him because they know Him. Is this true, parents? Doesn't it bring such joy to your hearts when your children, though they may not understand, fully trust you? A true Father longs to have the admiration, respect and trust of his children. Obedience from your children is great, right? But how much greater is it when your children obey you out of trust because they know you and how much you love them?
A good example of this is God with Abraham and Isaac. The situation is one in which God has asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son, his promised son at that. Imagine for a second, God asks for one of your kids or, for those of us that don't have kids, he asks for the most valuable thing, person, etc. to you. In your heart of hearts, what is your true response to that? It says in Genesis 22:7-8,
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
Not only did Abraham display obedience to God in following through with what He asked him to do, he takes it a step further, and displays great trust. He knew the character of God. He knew that God would provide a sacrifice. Sometimes we obey God because we know it's the right thing to do, and we can do it with dread, almost, but God's looking for people who know Him and obey him with full trust and faith. Abraham knew God. He knew that God would provide a sacrifice because He had a deep relationship with Him. Sometimes when we read this story the emphasis is on Abrahams obedience but I think we need to emphasize the fact that Abraham knew, without a doubt, that God would provide a sacrifice. He knew that God was not going to let him sacrifice his only son, the promise, because that would not line up with the character of God. God does not promise one thing and then do another. His promises are unchangeable.
In my life, right now, there are things that are happening that I don't understand but I'm choosing to trust that God has my best interest in mind because I know how good a Father He is. I know this puts a smile on His face and warms His heart and I know that as I face these confusing and difficult scenarios, He's holding my hand and guiding me through it. I choose obedience to what He's asked me to do, not just because that is the right thing to do but because I know Him and I trust Him.