My dad can’t sing.
It’s true. He has one note. It’s not musically identifiable, but it’s low.
That never stopped him.
I remember hearing him “singing” in the shower in the mornings getting ready for work.
I remember sitting next to him in church and trying to sing a harmony part. It was hard.
But he still sang. He still sings.
When I was young I knew my parents loved me. If you had asked me I would have said so. The evidence was there. They provided for me. Sure, they punished me when I did wrong, but they always forgave me. They went to my band concerts. They put up with my immaturity. For these reasons and more, I knew they loved me.
But I discovered a whole new perspective on a parent’s love when I had my own kids. I began to understand how you can be so angry you can’t see straight, so hurt you feel like your heart has been ripped out, and so proud you could burst…all at the same time!
It was then that I began to appreciate the depth of my parents’ love for me.
Sadly, I realize that some reading this may not have had the same experience of a loving family. You may find what I’m about to tell you incomprehensible. But trust me, it’s true.
But honestly, even if you grew up with a loving family like mine, you may still find this difficult to swallow, but here goes…
How do you think God feels about you?
God feels about you the same way a good dad feels about his kid. Sometimes he’s mad at you. Sometimes his heart is ripped out by you. Sometimes he’s bursting with pride. Sometimes he feels all that simultaneously.
And sometimes he sings.
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
This is a beautiful description of the way I know my dad felt about me. No, he couldn’t sing a lick, but that didn’t stop him.
And this is the way God feels about you.
In the last line of this verse is the word “exult.” This a good translation because the original word means dancing or leaping for joy.
That’s God when he thinks of you.
Can you imagine?
This idea may be foreign to you. Perhaps, like so many, you’ve come to think of God as caring more about rules and laws. When you imagine God seeing you, your feelings are more like what you feel when you see a cop in your rearview mirror.
Make no mistake, God does have a very specific way he expects us to live.
So did my dad. There were things I did, or maybe didn’t do, that I knew I would be punished for. I didn’t want to be punished so I avoided those things. Well, at least I didn’t want him to know about them.
As I matured, and grew to know my dad’s heart, I was motivated less by the punishment and more by the desire to please my dad and make him proud. I knew he “exulted over me” and I wanted to give him good reason to.
My dad lives in a nursing home now. He hasn’t punished me in decades. But I still find myself being guided by what I think would make him proud that I’m his son.
I live for his “singing.”
I will forever be grateful that he has given me an earthly example of how God feels about me.
Honestly, I don’t know if we can even talk about God having “feelings” in the same way we experience them, but this passage of scripture seems to indicate that he does.
Jonathan Edwards was a famous preacher in the early 1700s. He is most famous for his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Yes, it’s true that God hates sin and punishes the unrepentant.
But my Father’s Day prayer is that, through the grace of Jesus, you can grow to picture yourself not so much as a sinner in the hands of an angry God, but more as a child in the arms of a singing Father.