The ironic thing about the early relationship between myself and my father is that as I grew up, it was always my father that I sought out when I wanted consolation. It seemed like he was always ready to give me a hug, but without any instructions or admonitions. He was the one place I felt I could go for love and support.
I think he must have felt a reciprocal affection in the relationship. When my husband and I were engaged, six months before our wedding date we found a tiny apartment for an incredible price. I didn't want to lose the apartment and asked my father if I could go ahead and move into the apartment then. He looked up at me from his desk with mournful eyes and said, "I'm losing you in six months as it is, do I have to lose you sooner than that?"
That was the end of the discussion. We sublet the apartment to a friend for six months.
The point is, I know my father loved me. He was not a man to say so very often. In fact, I only remember him actually telling me so once. I was pregnant with my last baby and one day he told me, "I love you and I love your baby." Even without the words, I knew it. He loved me.
With our Heavenly Father, we have both the words and the assurances. The Scriptures are full of His message to us that He loves us beyond measure. It is full of His actions that He loves us as well. The life, death and resurrection of His Son are the surest sign to us that God loves us. He is that source of strength and comfort to which we can always turn. He is never too busy, never absent, never distracted. He love never fails.
"For God so loved the world,
that He gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish,
but have everlasting life."