If I ask you, who is God the Father to you, you may have different answers and may even find it easy to answer. But, if I ask you who are you to God the Father, I think, maybe, we would hear some crickets.
We see the greatness of God, we read His Word and believe every word to be true (as we should). Yet, some of us struggle when it comes to believing His love for us personally.
Unless we can fully accept and believe His unconditional love for us, His children, then we will always try to perform, we will never feel worthy enough, and we will be motivated by fear.
I have been editing my manuscript, it is a fictional story about a young run-a-way’s journey to salvation. I want to share with you a part of a conversation between the young girl and another character in the story. Just a little background, the girl is a run-a-way, she came from an abusive father. Most of her young life she has been running and scared, always wanting to be loved and accepted, but never knowing the safety of real love.
I think most of us have struggled with the very question this young girl has. It is easier to believe God created the world, parted the red sea, raised the dead, even died on the cross for us, but to believe He loves “me,” well, now that is asking a lot…
If we can fully believe Him, find security in His perfect love, then we would not worry or be anxious for the things we are worried and anxious for. We would fully believe Him when He says, it will all work together for our good.
I submit to you this short conversation. Do you see yourself here? Have you asked the same question this young girl has asked?
“You call God… Father? This is where I struggle.” Sarah said. “I can believe He created the world, I can even believe the story about Him parting the sea, but to think of Him as Father…”
Ruth understood what Sarah was saying. In the short time Sarah has been here, she has shared just enough to know that she and Ruth had come from similar backgrounds. This questioning Sarah had about God as Father, was the same thing Ruth struggled with.
“Sarah, I understand. I had a hard time seeing God as my Father, too.” Ruth said. “Because my own father was not a good father to me. I wasn’t always a Christian. You see, I didn’t really accept Gods love until after I met Paul, it was through Paul God showed me what perfect love is. Before I could fully receive, I was just going through the motions. I was going to church and doing all the Christianly things, but I didn’t truly have an intimate relationship with Jesus. And because I worked so hard at being a good Christian, I just kept failing and beating myself up. I felt like the worlds biggest phony.”
Ruth paused for a moment and then reached over and took the Bible off the nightstand, opened it to 1 John 4:18, then handed it to Sarah. “Will you read this out loud, please?” Ruth asked.
“There is no fear in love.” Sarah began. “But perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment, so the one who is afraid is not perfected in love.”
“Do you understand what this means?”
“No.” Sarah shrugged, handing the Bible back to Ruth.
“It took me a long time to understand what this meant, even though I quoted it a hundred times.” Ruth said. “Our love is conditional, Sarah, sometimes what we call love isn’t love at all. We have learned, from our experiences starting at childhood, to perform for love. We think maybe if I do this, or say that, or look like this, or you fill in the blank, I will be loved. To us, love takes on the face of the one we want to love us the most and when we are rejected by them, or if the person, your father for example, is a hurt angry person, we are in a constant state of waiting for the other foot to drop. We carry this with us throughout our lives and into other relationships and this is how we begin to view ourselves; as someone who is not worthy of love, even though we want it.”
Waiting for the other foot to drop was definitely something Sarah understood. She was in a constant state of fear and anxiety with her father. She wanted to please him, but no matter what she would do to earn his approval, he seemed to always be disappointed in her. Then the rare times when things were peaceful in her home, something would happen and her fathers temper would explode like a volcano, sending everyone running for shelter. Ruth was right, no matter how much distance Sarah put between her and her father, she always felt fearful and anxious.
“Here’s the thing, Sarah,” Ruth continued. “God’s love for us is perfect. He wants only good for us, in fact, all good things come from Him. He doesn’t stand in the shadows waiting for us to screw up so He can punish us. He doesn’t judge us or condemn us. When we accept His Son, we become His family, His children, and He is a good Father, Sarah. A good Father may chasten us, but He never rejects us, or turns His back on us,or withhold any good thing. There is nothing we can do or say that will make Him love us more, or love us less, He loves us fully, completely, unconditionally. When He looks at us, He sees His Son, He does not hold our past against us, He gives us a bright future. When we can accept and believe how much He loves us, then we will not be fearful anymore. Because we will trust Him and know, no matter what happens, He will never leave us. His love is constant. Then when we truly know this, deep in our bellies, we stop performing and trying to earn His love and approval, because we know He loves us and we have no reason to be fearful. We can be free to be vulnerable and allow His Spirit to heal us from the inside out, without fear. Because He knows us and there is nothing we can hide from Him, but if we give it all to Him, He promises to turn it into something good.”
The conversation left Sarah with much to ponder. As Ruth talked, Sarah could feel a heaviness lifting, almost as if a light bulb was coming on. Through Ruth’s words, it was as if real truth was coming alive and Sarah’s heart began to open a little more. It was as if a door was being opened and she was putting a foot over the threshold.
Later that evening, Sarah lay in bed thinking about what Ruth had said; she could feel the truth in it. Despite all the bad things that have happened, Sarah began to see the good in it. As her mind began to reflect on her past and the people she met, she began to see Gods hand in it all.
“Father.” She whispered. She held her breath and listened carefully; for what, she was not sure. “Father?” She whispered again. She liked the thought of having a Father to look after her. And with that thought she whispered thank you and then drifted off to sleep.
Dear Reader, do you know how loved you are by Him? Is it more than just words and a Bible verse to you? Do you have it deep in your belly and do you believe it? He does love you and He calls you by name. He sees you and He knows you. You are His. You belong.
Be Free & Stay Free