3 Ways Fatherhood Brings Us Closer to God

Written By: Paul Lafata


June 16, 2023

I became a father one year, nine months, and 20 days ago. Though I thoroughly planned and expected to be challenged, I quickly learned that few things in life can prepare you for the journey of being a dad. As I embarked on the journey of fatherhood, I discovered how my experiences as a father mirror the nature of God’s fatherhood over us all.

I’m not an expert on fatherhood, nor do I have years of experience being a dad. But what I do know is this: as I’ve grown as a father, my relationship with God has equally grown. If we, as fathers, take the time to reflect on our experiences, we can find God at work in it all. Here are three ways I’ve seen God use the gift of fatherhood to reflect our relationship with Him:

So often, we use the term “unconditional love” to explain our relationship with God. But do we fully grasp what it means to have unconditional love for someone? When I look at my daughter, Addison, I truly understand what unconditional love feels like: love with no boundaries, conditions, or bounds. This love for my daughter, who canh joy and love – even as she shares the simplest of smiles and words with me. Just her existence itself is enough to earn my love. In that same way, I see God celebrating His love for us. To our Father in Heaven, our existence is met with unconditional love.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love, he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.”

— Ephesians 1:3-5

This passage reminds us that God’s love for us, in Christ, is eternal, starting even before the foundation of the world. It is a love that chooses us, adopts us into His family, and makes us heirs of His divine inheritance. As fathers, we are called to emulate this unconditional love by cherishing our children, accepting them for who they are, and offering forgiveness and grace when they stumble.

Parents experience a natural desire to protect and guide their children. We have a responsibility to lead our children with wisdom and offer them direction as they grow. Even though Addison is under two years old, I still have opportunities to guide and protect her. Right now, I do this by teaching her how to go down the stairs safely, how to communicate her needs, how to say please and thank you, and how to interact with our dog and other children. Addison ultimately trusts that I will guide her on her path and protect her. Do we do the same with our relationship with God?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” — Proverbs 3:5-6

These verses remind me to trust God’s guidance and to lean on Him more, just as Addison looks to me to guide and protect her. God leads us along the right paths, offering direction and discernment.

Fatherhood involves nurturing and provision, ensuring our children’s needs are met in every aspect of their lives. Every day, Addison starts her day with a bottle of milk; she expects this routine when she wakes up in the morning. Do you think she spends time wondering where that milk will come from or if it will be provided to her? I need to ask myself: have I done the same in my relationship with God? Do I trust God to provide for my family and me?

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” — Matthew 6:26

These words from Jesus remind us of God’s abundant provision. Just as a father cares for his children’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, God, our Heavenly Father, provides for us. He sustains us, grants us the strength to face challenges, and offers spiritual nourishment to fulfill our deepest longings.

As believers, we have the privilege of looking at parenthood through the lens of God’s unconditional love, guidance, protection, and nurturing provision toward us. If we take time to reflect on how God is at work in us through our children, we can gain a deeper understanding of our relationship with God. My short time as a father has been filled with moments where God reminds us that He is at work in all things. What a joy it is to watch my daughter grow, and what a joy it has been to be reminded of God the Father as I have become a Dad.