One of the most beautiful pictures of God is that of a “father.”
Nowhere in the history of all religious faith has this term being used of God until Jesus taught us to begin our prayer by addressing God as our Father.
The word, “Father” or “Abba” in the Aramaic, is an endearing term, which is equivalent to our modern day, “Daddy.”
If God is portrayed as our heavenly “Daddy,” then all earthly fathers are representatives of God.
Since most children see God through His earthly representatives, earthly fathers therefore play a vital role in bringing the picture of God to their children.
Hence if a child had never felt close to his father at all, chances are that he will feel the same towards God. Or if a son or daughter had never experienced a caring and loving relationship with their father, chances are they will find it hard to address God as their heavenly Father.
And that is the “D” factor or the “Dad’s” factor in the spiritual formation of children.
J.B. Philips has this to say:
“The early conception of God is almost invariably founded upon the child’s idea of his father. If he is lucky enough to have a good father, this is all to the good … But if the child is afraid of his own father, the chances are that his Father in heaven will appear to him a fearful being. Again if he is lucky, he will outgrow this conception and indeed differentiate between his early fearful idea and later mature conception. But many are not able to not able to outgrow it … and in adult years are still obsessed with it, although it has actually nothing to do with their real relationship with the loving God.”
So to a very large and real extent, dads are the “D” factor in forming the concept of God in the minds of their children. Even though they are not perfect yet when they seek to walk in integrity, comfort and care for their children they model for their children the perfect Father in heaven.
“The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him” (Proverbs 20:7).
Dads are the “D” factor in giving their children a good glimpse of God.