My dad thinks the sun rises and sets by me. The feeling is mutual—I think he’s pretty special, too. It’s a well-known fact: In a majority of cases, dads and daughters have a special connection. I’m convinced that the love dads have for both their daughters and sons is so special that it has to be an expression of God’s impartial and permanent love for each of His children.
One of the most powerful examples of God’s fathering love appears in the Bible in the 15th chapter of Luke. Jesus shared a story about two sons and a father—the parable of the prodigal son. The younger son is a bit wild. (You may know the type—hopefully not too well!) He decides he wants to venture out into the world and live it up. He asks for his inheritance early, sending the implied message to his father, “You’re dead to me.”
His father knows his son needs to learn some important lessons. So, he gives his son what he asks for and, I imagine, wishes him well. It probably comes as no surprise that the younger son goes far away and quickly wastes all of his money. He ends up taking a job feeding pigs, and at his lowest point, decides to return home and beg his father to take him back as a servant.
For me, the father in the story represents God—divine Love. Of course, Love’s nature is to love, and we see God expressed in the father’s interaction with his younger son. He doesn’t reprimand the son, but loves him enough to meet him right where he is. Though human love seems to ebb and flow depending on circumstance, divine Love is permanent. In fact, Love is as constant and reliable as a firm principle.
In her primary work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy pairs the two synonyms for God—Love and Principle—more than 50 times. For example, “Love, the divine Principle, is the Father and Mother of the universe, including man” (p. 256). Also, “The creative Principle—Life, Truth, and Love—is God” (p. 502).
When I think of Principle, I think of the strong, solid, and unchanging attributes of law and cause. Like great fathers who dependably provide support, encouragement, and strength to those around them, God, our divine Parent, nurtures His loved creation by maintaining everyone as complete, healthy, and supplied.
Anticipating his return home, the younger son prepares a speech for his father: “I made a mistake. I don’t deserve to be your son. Let me be one of your servants.” But before he even makes it to the house, his father sees him coming and runs out to meet him. He puts a luxurious robe on him, a ring on his finger, shoes on his feet, and wraps him up in acceptance, approval, and forgiveness. Time has passed, and hard lessons have been learned, but the father never loses sight of his son’s innocence and purity. And God never loses sight of ours, either.
But is that the end of the story? What about the other son—the one who stayed home? He continued to work hard for his father the whole time the younger son was out on the town. You can imagine how angry and resentful he felt when his brother was received with so much fanfare. He wouldn’t go to the party in honor of his wayward brother. In fact, he refused to go into the house at all. So his father did what God does—He went out to him. He assured him by saying, “Son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.”(Common English Bible, Luke 15:31).
It was as if this Bible verse had come to life for both sons: “I have loved you with a love that lasts forever. And so with unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself” (Common English Bible, Jeremiah 31:3).
Like the younger son who was at his lowest point, when we are at ours, Love draws us to Him. The message to pick oneself up, and focus away from problems toward Love’s solutions, is God-impelled. And like the older son, who felt like he was missing something and deserved more, our heavenly Father, divine Principle, assures us, “You are my loved son. I delight in you every moment, and all good is yours now.”
On this Father’s Day—and every day—remember the lessons from the parable of the prodigal son. Divine Love is always present to comfort, forgive, guide, and provide you with endless affection and acceptance. Just like my dad who thinks so much of me, our divine Father delights in each of us eternally.
I hope these insights will inspire readers to think more spiritually about themselves and the world around them!