“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17, ESV).
Permissive dads say, “Whatever you want.” That parenting style leaves deep, lingering wounds in children. For a permissive father wound, Father God gives healing attention.
God is not a permissive Father. He’s not afraid of you. He’s not afraid of getting into it with you. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12:6). If you’re without discipline, then you’re not even in the family, because all God’s kids are getting it. God’s love is not a pampering love; it’s a perfecting love. God’s not saying, “Here, Susie. Have another cupcake. Take the one with the extra icing on it.” He isn’t interested in putting a smile on your face before bedtime. He’s interested in making you an awesome light in this dark world over the next decade. Discipline is proof of His love.
Here’s how God talks to His children. Zephaniah 3:17 begins with God’s name: “The Lord your God.” God the Father is a personal God. He is fully acquainted with you. As one of His children, you don’t have any secrets from Him, and He knows you better than you know yourself. It’s a personal relationship.
And He’s present. “The Lord your God is in your midst.” He’s not absent. He’s not off the job. He’s not somewhere else. His eyes are upon you (see Psalm 32:8). He is very present in your life for strength and healing. The Father wants to heal the wound of all that has been absent in your life and fill up what is lacking so that the future can be so much more than the past has ever been.
And He’s powerful. Father God is “a mighty one who will save.” What has happened in your life that has caused you to be acutely aware of your need for the Father of the universe, who is personally interested in you, and present, and able to save? Where you’re hurting, He will heal. Where you’re weak, He will be your strength. Where you’re lonely, He will be present with you.
And He’s singing. “He will exult over you with loud singing.” Did you know that Father God is singing right now? Though this is a promise for the millennial kingdom, because God exists outside time (Psalm 90:2), the song has already begun! This is His final verdict over you. Wherever you’ve been, whatever you’ve done, whatever has happened in the past or will happen in the future, your Father is rejoicing over you with singing. You are never far from His thoughts. You are not outside of His care. He will heal your wounds.
Father God, thank You that You are personal, You are present, and You are powerful. Why do You love me? Your wild, inexplicable, unchanging love is the underlying reality of my life. You would sing over me? Not for anything I have done but because of who You are: my Father in heaven. Help me to grasp even an inch of Your love for me. It changes everything. In the name of Jesus my Savior, amen.