Leanne Payne in her  book “The Crisis of Masculinity,” quotes Thomas Wolfe:  “[T]he deepest search in life, it seemed to me, the thing that in one way or another was central to all living was man’s search to find a father, not merely the father of his flesh, not merely the lost father of his youth, but the image of a strength and wisdom external to his need and superior to his hunger, to which the belief and power of his own life could be united.”  Many men are without a father spiritually, even though Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father who art in heaven.”

Donald Miller writes about growing up fatherless.  He confessed in his book “To Own a Dragon,” “I need to allow God to father me.  I needed to acknowledge him as Father and submit…..this meant admitting I wanted autonomy from God, admitting I wanted my own way and asking Him to change my heart.”  Have you allowed God to father you?

Men, you have a loving, gracious Father waiting to affirm you, wanting you to hear his words of affirmation, “I am very fond of you.”  In other words, through thick or thin, your heavenly Father is for you, waiting to guide you on a journey through life, planned from the foundations of the world.  “Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love….” (Eph. 1:4 – Message)  Have you forgotten your heavenly Father on our journey?

I wonder if there are men reading this blog who feel fatherless, with a sense of being all alone, drifting without meaningful purpose in life.  Last week I wrote about the two son in Luke 15:15-32  The parable also give a wonderful description of  our heavenly Father.  Here are some characteristics.  Allow them to speak to your confused, searching and longing soul.  May it allow you to come home to the father.

First, the father understood the heart of his son.  The Father probably had known for some time that his son was unhappy under his roof.  He could not change his heart. The son had to come to his senses  the hard way.

Secondly, the father is gracious.  It was difficult to allow the son to leave with his inheritance. But the son left with no strings attached, thinking he knew better.  The father must have felt great sorrow for his son, knowing he would waste his inheritance in the far country.   But he had to let him find out for himself

Thirdly, the father waited.  The text tell us the father saw him, “while he was still a long way off.” (Luke 15:20).  The implication is that he looked every day, waiting and praying that his wayward son would turn towards home.  From a broken heart,  he grieved daily for his son

Fourthly, he had compassion for his son. “His father saw him and was filled with compassion for him” (Luke 15:21). There was no condemnation, shaming or lecturing.

Fifthly, the father was demonstrative toward his son.  “He ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 15:2o). The son must have been overwhelmed by his father affection.

Sixthly, the father  welcomes his young son home.  The son can’t even finish his rationale for coming home. He was received with open arms.

Seventhly, the father was affirming of his son.  “For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:24). He was still his son.

Finally, the father had a  celebration. “Let’s have a feast and celebrate” (Luke 15:24).  He dresses his young son in the finest attire,  removing any shame and humiliation.