Do You View Jehovah as Your Father?
“LORD, teach us how to pray.” When one of his disciples made that request, Jesus responded: “Whenever you pray, say, ‘Father, let your name be sanctified.’” (Luke 11:1, 2) Jesus could have referred to Jehovah by using such impressive titles as “the Almighty,” the “Grand Instructor,” “the Creator,” “the Ancient of Days,” and “the King of eternity.” (Gen. 49:25; Isa. 30:20; 40:28; Dan. 7:9; 1 Tim. 1:17) Instead, Jesus chose the term “Father.” Why? Perhaps because he wants us to approach the highest Personage in the universe the way a humble child approaches a loving father.
Some individuals, though, find it difficult to think of God as their Father. A Christian named Atsuko* admits, “For years after my baptism, it was difficult for me to draw close to Jehovah and pray to him as a Father.” Citing a reason for her struggle, she says, “I cannot recall a time when my biological father showed me affection.”
In these critical last days, the “natural affection” one expects to receive from a father is grossly lacking. (2 Tim. 3:1, 3) So it is not unusual for individuals to have feelings similar to those of Atsuko. We can take heart, however, because we have sound reasons to view Jehovah as our loving Father.
Jehovah—A Loving Provider
If we are to view Jehovah as our Father, we need to become well-acquainted with him. “No one fully knows the Son but the Father,” said Jesus, “neither does anyone fully know the Father but the Son and anyone to whom the Son is willing to reveal him.” (Matt. 11:27) An excellent way to come to know what Jehovah is like as a Father is to reflect on what Jesus revealed about the true God. So, then, what did Jesus make known about the Father?
Acknowledging Jehovah as the Source of his life, Jesus said: “I live because of the Father.” (John 6:57) We too owe our existence to the Father. (Ps. 36:9; Acts 17:28) What moved Jehovah to impart life to others? Was it not love? For such a gift, surely we should love our heavenly Father in return.
The greatest demonstration of God’s love for mankind was his provision of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. That act of love makes it possible for sinful humans to have a close relationship with Jehovah through his beloved Son. (Rom. 5:12; 1 John 4:9, 10) And because our heavenly Father is the Fulfiller of his promises, we can be sure that all who love and obey him will eventually enjoy “the glorious freedom of the children of God.”—Rom. 8:21.
Our heavenly Father also “makes his sun rise upon” us daily. (Matt. 5:45) It is unlikely that we consider it necessary to pray for the rising of the sun. Yet, how we need and enjoy its warm rays! Moreover, our Father is the matchless Provider, who knows our material needs before we ever ask him. Therefore, should we not take time to observe and reflect appreciatively on how our heavenly Father cares for his creation?—Matt. 6:8, 26.
Our Father—The “Tender Protector”
Isaiah’s prophecy assured God’s ancient people: “The mountains will shift and the hills be unsettled, but my friendship will never shift away from you nor my covenant of peace be unsettled, says your tender protector Jehovah.” (Isa. 54:10, The Bible in Living English) Reinforcing this point, Jesus’ prayer on the last night of his earthly life shows that Jehovah is indeed a “tender protector.” Concerning his disciples, Jesus prayed: “They are in the world and I am coming to you. Holy Father, watch over them on account of your own name.” (John 17:11, 14) Jehovah has watched over and protected Jesus’ followers.
One way that God protects us from Satan’s devices today is by providing timely spiritual food through “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matt. 24:45) Taking in that strengthening food is essential if we are to “put on the complete suit of armor from God.” Consider, for example, “the large shield of faith,” with which we are “able to quench all the wicked one’s burning missiles.” (Eph. 6:11, 16) The faith we exercise protects us from spiritual harm and is a testimony to our Father’s protective power.
We can gain further insight into the tenderness of our heavenly Father by closely considering how the Son of God conducted himself when on the earth. Note the account recorded at Mark 10:13-16. There Jesus is quoted as saying to his disciples: “Let the young children come to me.” As those little ones gathered around him, Jesus tenderly embraced and blessed them. How their faces must have beamed with joy! And since Jesus said: “He that has seen me has seen the Father also,” we know that the true God wants us to come to him.—John 14:9.
Jehovah God is the limitless Source of love. He is the matchless Provider and the incomparable Protector, who wants us to draw close to him. (Jas. 4:8) So Jehovah is unquestionably the best Father imaginable!
How We Benefit!
We benefit greatly by placing our trust in Jehovah as our loving and tender heavenly Father. (Prov. 3:5, 6) Jesus benefited from trusting implicitly in his Father. “I am not alone,” Christ told his disciples, “but the Father who sent me is with me.” (John 8:16) Jesus was always certain of Jehovah’s support. At his baptism, for instance, he received loving reassurance from the Father, who declared: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.” (Matt. 3:15-17) And just moments before his death, Jesus called out: “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” (Luke 23:46) Jesus’ trust in his Father was still as firm as ever.
It can be the same way with us. With Jehovah on our side, what do we have to fear? (Ps. 118:6) Atsuko, mentioned at the outset, was accustomed to relying on her own strength when faced with problems. But then she undertook a study of Jesus’ life and ministry, particularly focusing on his intimate relationship with his heavenly Father. The result? “I learned what it means to have a Father and to rely on him,” says Atsuko. She adds: “I experienced true peace and happiness. Really, there is no reason for us to worry about anything.”
How do we benefit further from viewing Jehovah as our Father? Children normally love their parents and want to please them. Out of love, God’s Son ‘always did the things pleasing to his Father.’ (John 8:29) Similarly, love for our heavenly Father can move us to act wisely and “publicly praise” him.—Matt. 11:25; John 5:19.
Our Father ‘Is Grasping Our Right Hand’
Our heavenly Father has also provided a “helper”—his holy spirit. It “will guide you into all the truth,” said Jesus. (John 14:15-17; 16:12, 13) God’s holy spirit can lead us to a better understanding of our Father. It can help us to overturn “strongly entrenched things,” that is, preconceived notions, wrong ideas, or distorted views, thereby “bringing every thought into captivity to make it obedient to the Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:4, 5) Let us, therefore, pray to Jehovah for the promised “helper,” confident that “the Father in heaven [will] give holy spirit to those asking him.” (Luke 11:13) It is also appropriate to pray that the holy spirit will help us to draw ever closer to Jehovah.
A young child feels safe, secure, and unafraid when walking hand in hand with his father. If you truly view Jehovah as your Father, you can take to heart the comforting words: “I, Jehovah your God, am grasping your right hand, the One saying to you, ‘Do not be afraid. I myself will help you.’” (Isa. 41:13) You can have the wonderful privilege of “walking” with God forever. (Mic. 6:8) Keep on doing his will, and you will experience the love, joy, and sense of security that come from viewing Jehovah as your Father.
Name has been changed.