Ian here. As I walked one of our dogs this morning I asked the Lord what was on His heart for this community. He responded almost immediately with: “My heart.” I enquired further and He wanted us to know how much He loves us and how much His heart is for us. My sense is that there are some of us (perhaps only one) who is struggling a little at the moment to know, not just in their head, but in their heart, how much our Father loves them.
I’ve shared a number of times how for much of the early years of my marriage I believed that it wouldn’t be blessed nor could I have a ministry because I was unequally yoked. In meeting Dineen in 2012 I came to realize this to be a false narrative.
For much of my Christian life I feared God. Not in the reverent way that the Bible talks about fearing God but in a frightened sense. This was all due to my impression of a father. I grew up fearful of my dad and as he was my role model of a father I presumed similarly of God, our Father. As a consequence, I didn’t really want to draw close to God.
“The single most important thing about us is our idea of God and its associated images.” – Dallas Willard
Both of my beliefs had significant impacts on my life.
And they were both false.
God is Christlike
It has only been through coming to know Jesus that I discovered the “fear” factor wasn’t true. God stepped into the world as a man but as Colossians 1:15 assures us, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” and Jesus himself confirms it when he tells Philip: “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)
It’s in the wonderful discovery of getting to know Jesus that I’ve come to know the Father and His characteristics. And the Father certainly doesn’t want us to be scared of Him so we don’t want to draw close to Him.
A Loving Father
If you still require any convincing have a look at this magnificent verse in the parable of the Prodigal Son:
“When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20 MSG)
Take a moment or two to mediate on this verse. Put yourself in the son’s shoes. See your Father in the distance, then come charging at you with open arms. On reaching you He embraces you and swings you in the air like your dad or mom may have done when you were a kid. And then he kisses you!
How do you feel?
This is how God, the Father, loves us. This is His heart for us. His heart pounds for us. For you and I.
Cherish this moment. With Him. And enjoy Him. And being loved, embraced, kissed, fought for … by Him. 24 by 7.
Grace and peace, dear friends.