The Joy of the Father
There was a buzz of excitement yesterday as the birth of baby Sussex, the first child of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, was announced. As I watched the news coverage, I was struck by the contrast in the two ways in which the birth was announced.
Following standard royal protocol, the birth was announced in London through a small notice placed on an easel in front of Buckingham Palace. This announcement was formal, restrained and understated. But yesterday, as an expression of Harry and Meghan’s desire to be different types of royals, the birth was also announced in a live statement from Harry himself. This announcement was full of joy and emotion. Harry beamed with the pride of a new dad, his heart clearly captivated by the wonder of the new life which had entered the world, and both his face and his words expressing the deep love, affection, and delight he was feeling for his son.
As I reflected on this, I was struck by how easy it is for us to think of God’s perspective on us being like the first announcement: formal, restrained, understated. We know he loves us, he must love us to have done what he has done for us, but there’s a measured distance in that love. And yet the reality is that the second announcement, Harry’s live statement, is a much better picture (though still a faint reflection) of God’s heart for us, his children. He’s a father who sees us, has compassion upon us, runs to us, embraces and kisses us (Luke 15:20). He rejoices over us with gladness, quiets us with his love, and exults over us with loud singing (Zeph. 3:17). He’s not far-off and distant, but lives inside of us, bearing witness with our spirits that we are his children, causing us to cry out ‘Abba! Father!’ Daddy! Papa! (Rom. 8:15-16).
In the joy of this new father, we see a small glimmer of the joy of the ultimate father.