Different people define God in different ways. Even the
Bible uses a number of different names for the Deity,
symbolizing the various aspects of his nature.
It is consistent, however, on some basic aspects. The God
who made the world and everything in it is not a distant,
unapproachable God. Paul says heâ€™s â€œnot far from
each one of us, for in him we live and move and have our
very beingâ€� (Acts 17:27-28).
From the beginning, God has communicated with his
creation. The writer to the Hebrews tells us that â€œIn the
past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets in
many times and in various ways, but in these last days he
has spoken to us by his Sonâ€� (Hebrews 1:1-2).
The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ wants to
have a relationship with us, and that relationship is like that
of a father and his child. After his Resurrection, Jesus told
Mary Magdalene, â€œI am returning to my Father and
your Father, to my God and your Godâ€� (John 20:17).
It may be that, because Iâ€™ve known God since I was a
child, I always think of him as my Heavenly Father,
perhaps to distinguish him from my earthly father. Thatâ
€™s the way I address him in prayer.
But the distinction is more than a matter of words. My
earthly father, Cecil Wesley, was strong in many ways, but
he had his limitations. God doesnâ€™t.
My earthly father had an impressive degree of knowledge--
even wisdom. God is all-knowing and all-wise.
My earthly father loved me very much. God loves me with
a perfect love.
When I pray, â€œHeavenly Father, . . .â€� itâ€™s more
than just a habitual form of address. It speaks volumes
about a relationship that has been central to my life for half
a century, a relationship I value and depend on, a
relationship that challenges and comforts and sets a high
standard for the other relationships in my life.
With God as my Father, other humans become sisters and
brothers, to be cared for and loved. That's a standard that
could change the world!