My dad, Raymond Patterson Heppell, is no longer with us. But if I had to describe him in a few words I would say that he was...
...a hidden depressive
...a good dad, but not perfect by any means
(and he himself was a product of his own upbringing and experiences).
In Luke 15 we read the story Jesus told us to show what our Father in heaven is like - the story of the two sons and the extravagantly loving father.
So, what is our Heavenly Dad like? In the story we see him as...
...the Waiting Father (he never gave up on his son and waited consistently for him)
...the Watching Father (over long days and nights he was alert to any sign, any cry that signalled his son’s return)
...the Compassionate Father (his heart beat with active love for his son)
...the Running Father (he did what no respectable robe-wearing Jewish man would do and ran to his son with abandon)
...the Forgiving Father (he covered his wayward son’s pig filth and nakedness with his special guest robe)
...the Accepting Father (he welcomed back the one who deserved nothing, he gave him the family ring)
...the Extravagant Father (he gave wonderful gifts, and threw a lavish party)
What a wonderfully perfect Father. The Dad we all long for.
As I taught our TLC Gap & Ministry Year students this week about more of God’s Father Heart, it struck me again how much I have been changed by this revelation, and how many people I know have been transformed by it.
We will keep on teaching the Father heart of God in TLC and if it is new or a familiar truth to you, read Luke 15 again and choose to be like the younger returning son, admitting your need and brokenness. Then you will find all that he found in your Father’s arms. Don’t stand aloof like the older son, thinking you don’t need this and judging others. We ALL need to kneel before our Father and be a bit more healed in his embrace.
Today, spend some moments simply in his presence. Let him love you.
The Father loves you.