How He Loves

A speaker at the Life Teen Leadership Conference asked all the young women in the room to sit down and all the young men to stand up. He proceeded to say, “These young women have all been hurt by men in some way, many very deeply.”

He said that in a moment he would ask the hundreds of young men, our brothers-in-Christ standing beside us, to sing the song, “How He Loves” over us. He said that, in this prayer of song, we as women were going to allow God to heal us from the hurt that the men in our lives have caused.

While these young men sung with arms reached out over us, my heart pierced with the pain that my own father had caused because of his inability to be the father figure I longed for. I also couldn’t help but hear the ache in their voices while they sung, as they too were hurting from the men in their lives. I understood the broken stories of the young men and women around me from their father’s actions or lack of actions. I understood the painful feeling that many of us know all too well.

Yet as these young men sang over us, for the first time I felt our Heavenly Father’s unconditional love. Sure, I had felt God’s love infinite times before, but this was the first time I understood my Father’s love for me. I understood that even though my earthly father was not perfect, I have a Father who is perfect and loves me more than I can possibly comprehend.

God graces us with our biological fathers so that they can mirror our Heavenly Father’s love to us. He wants to give them the graces they need to fulfill the task of loving, nurturing, and leading us, however, this is difficult when our earthly fathers don’t know or understand the love of God.

When Jesus was instructing the disciples how to pray, He makes no mistake by calling God “Our Father.” He does this purposefully to draw us closer and closer to our intimate God. When Jesus’ dying body hung on the cross, He called out to His Father (Luke 23:46). And, because of the special bond between a father and a child, Jesus wasn’t calling up to some obscure being in the sky. He was calling for His Dad.

Just imagine a small toddler shouting “daddy, daddy, daddy” when they’ve just fallen, when they want to be picked up, or when their dad comes home from work. This is what our relationship with God must mirror. When we are broken, bruised, and want to be loved, we should be able to run into our Heavenly Father’s embrace.

Our God, though great, all-powerful, and the Creator of the universe, is our Father, and He is personal with us.

In the same way:

When I’m tired and weary, my Heavenly Father allows me to rest on His arms and listen to His Sacred Heart beat.

When I’m upset and frustrated, my Heavenly Father just listens to me pour it all out.

When I forget about God, I never leave my Heavenly Father’s mind.

When I don’t feel attractive, my Heavenly Father reminds me that I’m His masterpiece and His carefully, thought-out creation.

When I cry, my Heavenly Father gazes at me with compassion and understanding.

When I run far away like the prodigal son, my Heavenly Father waits for me patiently and welcomes me home with open arms.

When I’m caught and tangled up in sin, my Heavenly Father meets me and my mess in the confessional with gentleness and love.

When I feel worthless, my Heavenly Father tells me I’m His child.

When I feel unloved, my Heavenly Father says I’m worth dying for.

I may not know what your relationship with your dad looks like. I may not know the way he has wronged you or the ways he wasn’t there for you. But I do know the pain — and for that I am so sorry. But I also know that our Heavenly Father is so madly, passionately, and insanely in love with us.

Because when we use the word “Father” and depend on God as our Father, we unite ever so tightly to an almighty and indescribable God. We allow the God of the universe to fill and mend our broken hearts with divine Fatherly love. We allow Him to love us at every moment, hour, and minute. And we allow Him to love us immensely and completely as our Father and us as His precious child.

“Oh, how He loves us… How He loves us so…”