It had been a while since she’d felt that kind of love. If ever. The little girl of 9-years, having only recently been adopted, was soaking up all the ways her new family lived life. They prayed before their meals; not devoured them before the head-mistress finished plopping it on their plates, like where she came from. The father lovingly looked at his four children, and his wife. He had an air of protection and compassion about him. Qualities the little girl found foreign, and hard to trust. Could he really be that nice? The mother was nurturing, tending to her family’s needs with love, even when she clearly seemed tired. This family is now mine. Really?
As supper drew to a close, the guilt that weighed on the little girl grew tighter in her chest, leaving no room for lemon pie. Father noticed something was off, so as the others cleared the table, he motioned for her to come.
Hesitantly, she picked up her feet and approached this man. ‘Er, her father.
“What’s wrong Fern? You seemed far away at dinner tonight.”
She had lied earlier, about something she broke. A treasured item to be sure. And she couldn’t escape the feeling. But this household did things differently, and just being with them made her want to be different. So, she confessed.
Fearful of father’s reaction, the little girl stared at her feet, hands fidgeting. She was certain he’d fix the situation to be painful for her – ensuring she learned her lesson, never to forget it. She prepared her heart for his response.
“You know what I said earlier, about the plate? It was my fault. I broke it. I’m, I’m really sorry and understand if you want to send me away.”
“Send you away!” Father laughed. Not a sarcastic laugh. A comforting one.
She looked up. He continued.
“My dear little girl. You are a part of our family now. What’s ours is yours. I appreciate your honesty. How about we fix it together later? It’ll be like new; even better.” Father drew her in with an embrace that melted her, her fear, and all her worries.
It felt like home. Another foreign feeling, but one she was learning to get used to.
It has occurred to me in recent years, that my view of God as Father was, well, not necessarily one of “Father”. That only became evident to me when I sensed Him removing idols and the sin that was actually in my heart revealed to me how little I trusted Him. It’s easy to stand in church on Sundays and sing songs of trust and surrender, until the days when you feel Holy Spirit sanctifying you and you want to run back to old ways; comfort.
But what really changes us?
The reality in our HEARTS of the heart of God towards us as His children; the reality of what Jesus truly accomplished on the cross for us.
A.W. Tozer says, “At the heart of the Christian message is God Himself waiting for His redeemed children to push in to conscious awareness of His presence.”
Without conscious awareness of my broken perception, I viewed God as One Who more wanted to fix me and make an example of me, than One who wanted to continuously love me and make me His. Forevermore. Not just that, but that I had to fix me and any situation in order to feel the peace He had already paid for.
It’s exhausting work.
In 2 Timothy 1:12 Paul says in one of his letters, “That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”
You see, we can know everything the Bible has to say, but until we know the one WHOM it is written from and about, we remain in slaves to ourselves. I’m still enslaved in areas, and trying to trust God to fix that. ‘Er, to love me through that and walk into freedom in Him, I mean 😉
How do we approach Him as Father, instead of Fixer?
I came across this one day, and this lady, Elyse Fitzpatrick, said it well:
“Now, I’m not saying that we don’t pursue obedience, but if you learn how to read the Bible, all of the commands, particularly in the Epistles, but Jesus said it was everywhere. All of the commands are in the context of what Christ has already done.
So when Peter in 2 Peter is talking about this list of ‘add to your faith virtue, and to your virtue, knowledge, and to your knowledge, self-control, and to your self-control, steadfastness,’ when Peter is doing all of that, he’s talking in a context. And the context is: You have been forgiven, so live in the light of that. Not get your pen out and make a list of the things you’re going to do today, and then detach it from the context. Do you understand?… Now, in light of that, serve God. Do you see what I’m saying? This is the message we need. Isn’t it the message you need? It’s the message I need. I need it every day because if you tell me, “Here’s the forty-two things you need to do to get the bus down the road,” I’m either going to be proud because I did it or despairing because I didn’t.
But if you tell me, “Jesus Christ has done it all for you, Elyse, be filled with joyous zeal, run with your whole heart after Him,” and I’ll say, “Oh, yes, Lord. I will run. And then, in all the ways that I don’t, thank You, and in all the ways that I do, thank You, and I know that You will accomplish all Your good will.” (Elyse Fitzpatrick, sermon on the gospel, www.truewoman.com)
How do we live trusting our Father wants to love us and not just fix us? We live in light of what He has already done, and trust Him for what He is going to do.
Hold hands with me, dear readers, I am on this journey too. But I have caught deeper and deeper glimpses of Father’s heart – and He is oh so worth it.