Good, Good Father by Chris Tomlin. Great song, right? I haven’t met anyone yet who would disagree. We were singing it in church and had reached the line, “You are perfect in all of your ways” when I heard the soft voice of the Lord say,
“Open your hands.”
I’m not always aware of what my hands are doing during worship. They’re usually flailing around in some kind of pattern but at the moment he spoke my hands were clenched into fists. I wasn’t conscious of it rather I was just caught up with the passion of the song. But when I opened my hands, I felt a sudden rush of peace and love flow through me.
Many of us approach God with closed hands, fists so tight our knuckles turn white as snow. We don’t mean to and we’d like to feel more open with God but past experiences have taught us it’s not safe to be vulnerable. That if we risk our dreams and the desires of our hearts, they will end up trampled, broken, and forgotten.
This song has a way of stirring up deep-seated wounds, pain inflicted by fathers who weren’t there. Or by those who metered out hurt when they were. It’s that trauma that makes us flinch when we hear the words, “good, good, father.” But the song’s not about them. It’s about our Perfect Father – God.
He wants to heal our hearts, the wounds created by those fathers who didn’t always do a very good job of representing him. He wants us to know that the compulsion toward self-sufficiency and independence isn’t necessary, that instead of closed hands and crossed arms we can be open, inviting, and vulnerable.
It’s safe because he’s the Perfect Father and that title comes with perfect love. Many of us don’t even understand what that is. But if we are willing to risk ourselves just one more time, he’ll show us. If we take great courage and give him a chance (and the time) to move in our lives, he will. He will because he loves us more than we could ever imagine.
It can be tough. Especially when the word ‘father’ tastes so bitter in our mouths. But God was never meant to represent our fathers. Our fathers were meant to represent God. And to the extent they loved self-sacrificially, they represented him well. And to the extent they didn’t, they fell short. Far short in some cases.
If we’re able to take what we’ve learned fathers are and let God replace it with his love, we’ll find liberty and the freedom to open our arms to him. We might even find the capacity to forgive those who represented him poorly. If we continue to flinch and turn away, the abundant life of Jesus will remain just beyond arms reach along with the true fulfillment of our dreams.
I bless you with the ability to open your hands and heart to the Perfect Father, the one who loves you more than any other. I bless you to see him clearly as he is – perfect in all of his ways to you.
Jesse and Kara Birkey
One of the deepest passions of Jesse and Kara’s heart is to help as many people “come alive with Jesus” as they can, and this devotional is born out of that desire.
The daily words from the Lord will bring you hope no matter what you are facing. They will reveal a love that is bigger than you thought possible and the abundant LIFE that is always available.