I didn’t have a dad growing up. My mom was married and divorced seven times, and she had a lot of boyfriends in between. She seemed to enjoy moving from relationship to relationship, if you want to call it that, and she would tell me to call these men Dad.
After about three guys, it was getting old. My mom would introduce me to a complete stranger, and say, “This is your new dad. Call him Dad.” But I didn’t want to call these guys Dad, with the exception of a man named Oscar Laurie. He treated me the way a father should treat a son.
In what is known as the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6, Jesus said to His disciples, “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (verse 9 NKJV). This was a revolutionary thought for a Jewish person. Jews of the first century did not call God “Father.” In fact, they regarded His name with such reverence and respect they would not even utter it.
Throughout the Old Testament, God is referred to as “Father” fewer than seven times. When He is referred to in that way, it’s either indirectly or rather remotely. So when Jesus referred to God as His Father, He was accused of blasphemy.
Jesus gives us permission, even more, encourages us, to pray “our Father in Heaven.” Our Father in Heaven is different than our fathers on Earth. Fathers and mothers can let their kids down. And children let their parents down. We all let each other down at times.
The psalmist David, who knew what it was like to have a father who didn’t love him, said of God that He is “a father of the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5). God will be that father for you.