“Honor your father and your mother,” says the Bible. If we grew up in a Christian home, we also learned to call God “our Father…”
There are days when we may object: Father? Really? What kind of father would take away my loved one? What kind of father allows heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, accidents and the wars that send young men home in flag-draped coffins?
But He who taught us to pray this prayer, to fall into the arms of God and call Him “Father,” is no more happy with this broken world than you or I. He knows how deep are the sorrows sown by sin and Satan, disease and death. He picked it all up and made it His own.
This is still our Father’s world and He hitches these dark powers to the chariot of His divine purposes and drives them to do His bidding.
So Jesus teaches us to pray: “Our Father who art in heaven.” Our Father is in heaven, over all. If we get no further than this one word – “Father” – the most important thing has already happened. If the all-powerful Creator and Ruler of the universe is also my Father by faith in Jesus, then nothing can happen to me or touch me without His permission, without His control, without every line of my life, good or bad, being sifted in the nail-pierced hands of Him who died for me.
If God is our Father, then sufferings become trials which refine faith into gold. Dark valleys of disappointment become places where we learn to know the Good Shepherd, the touch of His hand, the power of His rod and staff. If God is our Father, then death itself must become the door to eternal life and deliverance from this un-fatherly world.
Jesus says: “What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread will give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more will your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” The Holy Spirit will help us, says the Bible. He will translate our prayers into the ear of the Father so that we do not end up with stones instead of bread or snakes instead of fish. Only let us find new peace and joy again in saying: “Our Father who art in heaven.” Our Brother laid down His life so we could say it.