"We want not so much a Father but a grandfather in heaven, a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, 'What does it matter so long as they are contented?" C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain.
As C.S. Lewis points out, we too often wish that God were a benevolent Grandfather rather than a watchful Father. We wish God would spoil us like grandfathers do, not discipline us like Fathers. Yet, if we think about it, rather than feel it with our heart, we will realize how much better fathers are than grandfathers. Fathers are with us day in and day out, helping us with our homework, dressing our wounds, and, even, keeping us in line. In contrast, we see grandfathers once in a awhile, and they bring gifts or a warm hug, but they are not responsible for the tough jobs associated with raising a child.
We do not always like it. We have tendency to rebel against the firm hand of a Father. We resent being sent to our room or the belt on the backside. But oh, how we need it! And oh how we need God's guidance and discipline in our lives, in addition to the benevolent gifts He does give us.
The route to true contentment rather than fleeting happiness is through suffering and discipline. The person who has endured the hard times has a greater capacity to enjoy the good times, as well as a greater ability to be happy in every circumstance. If God never allowed tough things in our lives, ultimately we would never experience true contentment.
On this Father's Day, let's celebrate our fathers, but let's also celebrate God as our Father who never leaves or forsakes us, and who loves us enough to do the tough work of disciplining us.