When Jesus taught and lived that God is a loving Father, it meant that Jesus trusted that God is more committed to bringing about good for us than God is committed to avoiding personal hurt and pain. As Ben Witherington III remarks, “to say God ‘is love’ is to say that God is the most self-sacrificial being in the universe, and as such he was prepared to go to incredible lengths to set humankind right.” (Found that quotation in an Archaeology magazine of all places!) Do you find it encouraging, scary, or perhaps both to realize that God is vulnerable and can be hurt by what you do and do not do?
The God described in biblical writings is creative, good, relational, purposeful, responsive, and personal. God is the God who speaks things into existence and who is the source of the spiritually energized “word.” Complicated, confusing, and even easily misunderstood at times from our human perspective? Yes! Silent sometimes when we want to hear—right now? Yes! But, still always a relational God, bent on communicating with us humans, seeking to show us that God is for us, and hurt when we don’t accept that grace and mercy.
If we take the biblical claims about the One God seriously, we humans are invited to enter a great adventure with God. Austin Channing Brown calls this adventure a call to live “wildly holy and free.” Not a bad way to capture the security and risk involved in relating to “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus the Messiah.”