Heathdale flower 03rd September 2020

A Father That Loves Like No Other

The Apostle John reminded us in 1 John 4, that our ability to love our children comes from God.

Heathdale flower

It is almost 12 months ago to the day since I was boarding a plane, heading off to the United States for a two-week study tour hosted by Harvard University. The day before I flew out, I visited my parents who had recently needed to enter an aged care facility. As I was leaving, I turned to both of them and said, “I love you Mum and Dad.”

My Mum responded quickly by singing, “I love you and don’t you forget it!”.

My Dad, who was naturally a quite reserved person and rarely showed his emotions just looked me in the eye and said, “I love you too Rossy!”

I can remember thinking as I walked to the car, that was a really special moment and how nice is it to not only know deep down inside that my Dad loves me but also hear my Dad say that he loves me!

Sadly, two weeks later my Dad passed away unexpectedly! When I received this news, I was still overseas at the time. I was able to recall his words and realised that in fact these were his final words to me. “I love you too Rossy.” What an incredible parting gift he left me, to be told that I was loved.

As I picked up my Bible this week, the thought came to me that this is an incredible book because it tells me constantly that God loves me and you. It demonstrates in many ways how deeply God does indeed love us. The opportunity to be able to pick up the Bible at any time, and begin to read it and hear God say to us through the words that are on the page, “I love you (insert your name here)” is a special gift that we are able to receive each day.

It is sad to realise that many people have misinterpreted this incredible book. It has been described as an out-of-date rule book; full of dos and don’ts, laws, punishments and judgements. It’s sad that for some it has been reduced by such a negative perspective.

The Apostle John captures what the Bible is truly about when he wrote,

“Dear Friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love! … This is love, not that we loved God (first) but He loved us.”
1 John 4: 7-9 (The New International Version)

Each and every time we come to read the Bible we are able to realise, understand and learn more of how much God loves us. The Bible should not be seen as an out-of-date rule book that is full of judgement, but rather a long love letter from our Heavenly Father who is expressing how deeply He loves you and me.

This is one of the key reasons why the Staff and I begin each work day together gathered around God’s word as it is found in the Christian Bible. We as a staff love to be reminded as we step into the day to serve and support the students, that we are deeply loved by our Heavenly Father. Because of this love we are able to serve Him as we do each day.

It is also why we want to begin each school day with our students in Devotion, gathered around His word in the Bible. The Staff and I see this as the centre-piece of our Homegroup time. It’s the opportunity to help each student who has been placed in our care, to come to realise, understand and appreciate how deeply the Heavenly Father loves each of them. We want the students to hear God saying to each and every one of them, I love you! What a powerful, encouraging way to begin each school day.

As we as a community come to celebrate Father’s Day this weekend, we know that it will look different for different families. Some will keenly know the love of their earthly fathers, others will have a special friend who fills this role and for others Father’s Day can be a challenging time. Our ability to love our children, as the Apostle John reminded us in 1 John 4, comes from God. It is God who has designed in each of us the ability to love our children as it is God who has loves us and has placed this ability in our hearts.My prayer for each family within the Heathdale community is that this Father’s Day be a special day for all the Dads and Special People, and their children. May it also be an extra special day as we recall that our Heavenly Father loves us like no other.