“Like as a father” means also the power of example. A true father has to reckon what effect what he does will have on his child. A father has told of how he was reduced to tears while walking in a muddy street, only to look back to see his little son straining to make steps that would land him in his father’s footsteps. An old friend once told me that he had to stop smoking when his boys were born because he did not want them to smoke. The power of an example is a powerful thing. It enshrines our acts beyond our years and, for good or evil, imparts to us a kind of immortality. “Like as a father.” God is our perfect example. We are called upon to be like him. The psalmist cries out somewhere a prayer all heavy with passionate desire, “I shall awake in his likeness.” It was Jesus who told us to look to God for our example, not to people. “Be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Men will fail, even earthly fathers. You and I do not want to be completely like any man we have ever known, though we have admired some men intensely. Ah, but God is different. There is no quirk or weakness in him. Many who have seen God in the face of Jesus Christ count it worth a lifetime of surrender and seeking, of grand adventure and hazards, if, please God, somewhere on ahead they may see come to pass in their own lives that incredible word which the New Testament utters about what we may yet become. “It does not appear, it says, what we shall be. But this we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” Arthur Gossip, with that rare gift of disciplined imagining which has belonged to the Scottish preacher, used to say that those who surrender and seek are to become so like Jesus Christ that one day angels, looking first at him and then at those who are his, will not be able to tell him from them.