Your earthly father, that is.
I’ve learnt that when we conceptualize our Heavenly Father, we often use our earthly fathers as a template:
If your father was strict and restrictive, you see God as an authoritarian father, watching and measuring your every move by some unattainable standard.
If he was loving and giving, you expect the same of your Heavenly Father: a never-ending vending machine of goodness.
If your earthly Father was never around, or never cared, it’s hard to fathom that a Heavenly Father would be much different.
At first I thought this father-Father comparison didn’t apply to me. I have an earthly father who is loving, somewhat strict, doesn’t give me everything I want, and always taught me who God is. But God showed me I was, in fact, no exception.
Growing up, my father always placed precedence on me learning to be independent. He’d always be there in an extreme emergency, but for most of my life, I took care of myself. When I came to college, I didn’t have an allowance or anything. I literally took care of myself- and I have been self-dependent for over eight years now. And so, in effect, it shaped my view of God. I saw God as a Father of extreme emergencies. If I absolutely could not handle it on my own, I’d go to Him- but only then. For everything else, I was good on my own.
But I wasn’t.
I know now that God cares about every single tiny aspect of my life- and wants to be included even in the most mundane of circumstances because He cares, and He can do things so much better than I can.
I know now that God is not a parachute labeled ‘Emergencies Only’.
He is not a cosmic Santa Claus who hands out His love and kindness based off of a Naughty/Nice list.
He is not an abusive God who seeks to punish you for your wrong-doings or constantly nag at every wrong turn you make.
God is so far above and beyond the capacity, understanding and love of your earthly father. Your earthly father- no matter how awesome he is/isn’t was/wasn’t- can be a HORRIBLE template by which you understand who God is.
Get to know Him for yourself.