"As a father loves and pities his children, so the Lord loves and pities those who reverence Him."
"You called, You cried, You shattered my deafness, You sparkled, You blazed, You drove away my blindness, You shed Your fragrance, and I drew in my breath, and I pant for You."
What visual image comes to my mind when I hear the words, "Our Father"?
"God is not a theorem; He is a person. As such, He is only known and encountered in a total relationship which involves and affects not only our mind but the life and character as well. To know God's dossier is nothing; to know Him is everything."
R. T. France
I am one of those very fortunate individuals in this world who, through time and effort, developed a wonderful relationship with my father. When I was young, I idolized the man. I looked up to him. Everybody I knew loved my dad. And I held him in awe. However, as time passed and those teen conflicts developed, I looked on my dad, not with childhood admiration anymore. In my eyes, my father was the "heavy." I heard him say, "No" more than "Yes." It seemed to me that during my teenage years I repeatedly heard his litany of questions that never ended. "Who are you going with?" "Will there be parents at the party?" "How old is the person driving?" "Has your friend, ________, ever used drugs?" Need I say more? I'm certain you get the picture. My dad cared about me - and he didn't seem to mind if I thought he was "fencing me in." His only thought at the times was my well being and protection. When I got older and had a job and could afford my own apartment, I didn't have to play by daddy's rules anymore. Ultimate freedom - or so I thought. Forget my bossy dad and his unappreciated and unwelcome advice. I could go it on my own - and for a number of years I did. I tossed a lot of what I considered excess baggage overboard. And I did alright - for awhile. But then, as happens so frequently with nearly all of us, we hit a pothole - maybe we even run off the road into a ditch - or worse we take a plunge off a cliff.
And all of a sudden, old dad doesn't look like such a fool. His advice almost begins to make sense. Dare I say, we begin to use the "W" word to describe him - for we need his "wisdom."
Over time, I began to reconnect with a father who never left me - even when I didn't think I needed him.
I share this story with you, even though the memory of some of my extremely rebellious antics still brings a sharp pain to my heart. But there are very important lessons I learned in my relationship with my earthly father that have helped me develop a strong relationship with my Heavenly Father.
1) My thoughts and behavior toward my father never changed his thoughts or behavior toward me. I don't know how he did it but just because I didn't appreciate my father at times, never meant he gave up or turned his back on me. The beloved apostle John so eloquently writes about our Heavenly Father's feelings for us: "Beloved, now are we the (daughters) of God … and everyone who has this hope is pure and guiltless" (1 John 3:2, 3, Amplified Bible). Isn't that wonderful? My behavior toward God does not affect the fact that He still claims me as His child. I can always call Him, "My Father." Even if I've wandered away. And like the loving Father He is, He'll welcome me home with open arms. Anytime. Anywhere.
2) My love for my father never exceeded his love for me. This was true of my earthly dad. Time and again he came to my rescue - no questions asked. No condemning words - just love. Our Heavenly Father is the same - and even more! I love these words by Meister Eckhart: "For however devoted you are to God, you may be sure that He is immeasurably more devoted to you." You and I can't "out-love" our Heavenly Father.
But what if your relationship with your earthly father is damaged beyond repair? What if your father walked out on you as a child? What if your father abused the trust of his little girl and left you with painful scars that still are open and bleeding?
Praise God, our Heavenly Father has come with "healing in His wings" to rescue His broken daughters and cradle them under the shelter of His wings. What's more, when we whisper, scream, weep or plead the words, "our Father," God assures us that not only does He listen and hear, but He treats us like He treats His own Son. Jesus said in His last prayer for His earthly disciples, "Father, you love them, as you love Me" (John 17:23). By calling God, Your Father, you have linked yourself permanently with a family who loves you - both a Heavenly and an earthly family. You are no longer alone. Who knows, part of God's restoration in your life may be what brought you to Transformation Garden - to find family that not only cares about you, but loves you, too. You may not have had a father on earth who treated you the way he should … but you now have a Heavenly Father who says, "Call me Daddy."
And one more thing - many days, as I read the emails sent to Transformation Garden, my heart aches for women who share with me the harsh and abusive treatment they are receiving at the hands of a man whom they are dating, living with or married to. And I have thought how broken-hearted our Heavenly God must be to see His daughters wounded and broken - physically, emotionally and spiritually. God's plan for you and me just oozes love. Julian of Norwich wrote: "In His love He enfolds us and embraces us; that tender love completely surrounds us, never to leave us."
If you have a difficult time relating to "Father God" because of the destructive treatment you have received at the hands of a man you thought loved you, I'd like to share this thought by Margery Kemp:
"God reminded me one day, ‘You're my own true wife. Remember that I loved you so much that I died for You? Don't forget that.'"
I would add, that if you desire to find unstoppable, unending love in your life, look first to "Your Father in heaven." There you will find your true acceptance, your greatest joy, and also your greatest peace.
And Jesus said, pray therefore like this, "Our Father." Call out to your dad, the Man who loves you and will never let you go.
Who is in heaven,
Hallowed (kept holy) be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors.
And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. AMEN."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.