“Ben the ‘Bastard Boy’ is what they called me,” explained the old man to Professor Fred Craddock. “In front of everyone, and so that everyone could hear, the preacher man spoke with a voice like God, saying ‘Boy I know who your Daddy is; your Daddy is God.’” And then, Ben Hooper, elected twice the governor of Tennessee, looked at Fred Craddock and said, “I was born that day, the day the preacher man told me: ‘Your Daddy is God.’”
“Behold what manner of Love the Father has given unto us,” writes John, in 1 John 3:1, “that we should be called the children of God; And so, we are.”
I tend to think that the Love of God is some sort of ontologically mandated necessity, and maybe it is. But John is saying “Wait don’t you see what manner, what kind of love, this love is? It’s Daddy Love. Behold it!”
Jesus said, “Pray our Father.” And it appears that he often used the word “Abba,” which is most naturally translated as “Dad” or “Daddy.” Paul tells us in Romans 8, that “When we cry ‘Abba! Father!’ it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.’” Behold: it’s Daddy Love.
Daddy Love is unique. It’s different than other types of Love. It just showed up in me, not long after my son was born. I didn’t earn it; I didn’t manufacture it. But the way I felt about my son was different than the way I felt about everyone else in the world.
Daddy Love is unique, unearned, unconditional, and intensely passionate.
When people discount my children, there is a wrath in me that burns toward them.
Once, when I was feeling this wrath toward a woman that had ignored my daughter, I think I heard the Lord whisper, “Hey Peter, did you ever think that this woman might also be my daughter? What if I love everyone in the world, the way you love your daughter?”
Wrath is the burning edge of a Father’s Love. And what does the good Father do with all of his wrath when his beloved children don’t love each other?
Daddy Love is intensely passionate and sacrificial.
So, God is vulnerable to you, and yet, “his mercies never come to an end.”
It may seem like they do come to an end, but they don’t come to an end; love is the end and so, every punishment is discipline.
If someone told my children to fear me because my love would never come to an end, and so I would discipline until each of them believed my love and so surrendered to my love, that would be good advice.
But if someone told my children to fear me because my love might come to an end and I would then torture them forever without end, my wrath would burn hotter than it ever has before…. and yet if they too were my children it would burn for them, as well as at them, until they too surrendered to my love, until they too trusted in my love—that’s called “faith.”
Daddy Love most earnestly desires faith from his children, for the Good Daddy most earnestly desires the love of his children. And so, he bears his own wrath, until his children surrender to love and return his love.
Good Daddy Love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Cor. 13:7).” It doesn’t end and it doesn’t fail.
I remember my father leaning over my hospital bed, saying “If only there was a way that I could, I would bear this pain for you.” And I remember looking at him and thinking, “You’re crazy.” Is God our Father crazy? I suppose so. He’s a Daddy, crazy with love for you.
When my children doubted my love—and my love is very imperfect—they would act like little, sorry to say it, little bastard’s.
But when they trusted my love, they would imitate me as if it were their heart’s greatest desire.
Daddy Love is that powerful. And so, for some, this message doesn’t feel like a blessing but a curse. Perhaps, unlike me, you had a terrible daddy. And now you look in the mirror and see him staring back at you… or worse, you still don’t know who he is.
My Aunt told me of a man, who came down the stairs late one night to see his father, drunk, and waving a rifle around the kitchen threatening to kill his children. His mother hung onto the stock of the rifle begging him to stop. He only stopped when the police came and took his father away.
Psychologists will say that that boy would most likely grow up to be just like his father: angry and severely limited in his ability to love. But that man is the most Christ-like man that I’ve ever known. That man was my father (who would only speak well of his father).
What happened to my father? Well, the same thing that happened to Ben Hooper. When he was a young man, he heard a preacher man say “Boy, I know who your Daddy is. Your Daddy is God.”
Do you know who your Daddy is? Let me tell you: Your Daddy is God.
And when you say “Daddy,” it’s not just you, the old you, that’s speaking; it’s the Son of God; it’s the Spirit of God; it’s who you truly are. Say, “Daddy.”
“When we cry ‘Abba! Father!’ it’s the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” “Behold what manner of Love the Father has given unto us.”
You’re not a Bastard; you’re the son and/or daughter of the Living God.