In his teaching of what God is like, Jesus extends our vision for what makes for a great father. I think his most potent story is that of the ‘Lost son’ (Luke 18:11-31).
There are so many elements in the story which raise questions on the father’s competence. His younger son takes advantage of him, he enables poor choices and disobedience, he lacks dignity, he doesn’t rescue his boy, he rewards poor behaviour. Certainly, the elder son states bitterly how disappointed he is in his father. Yet Jesus uses this father to give insight into what God is like. God is like the father who cares less about his property or his dignity and more about his lost son. This is the father who waits for his son to come to his senses, who has compassion and grace when his son returns. For all his ‘flaws’, this is the father who is patient, compassionate, kind, generous. As he returns the younger son tells himself:
“I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.”(Luke 15:18-20)
This is the father a lost son can come back to.
Given our own ‘lostness’, are we not glad God is like this father? I wonder what we need to learn from this ‘flawed’ dad for when the people we love bring serious challenge?
Happy Father’s Day to my fellow dad’s,