January 26, 2021
A lot of things come to our mind whenever we hear the word “God”—someone who rules the world; someone who is 100% holy; or someone who reminds you of religious things, like having to act solemn whenever we pray or go to church. We’d usually picture God as someone sitting on a lofty throne with a staff, zapping anyone who does Him wrong.
But most of the time, we miss out on the fact that God is so much more than these stereotypical pictures. God actually revealed Himself to us as our Father.
So . . . a Father? Someone who cares, loves, and looks after us? Someone who can give us care and affirmation? Someone who looks at us with such gentle eyes even when we fall short? Someone who accepts us without any conditions? Someone who will always be around? The ideal father we all dream to have? God? Really?
Is this possible?
Is this possible in a world where so many people grew up in families with distant fathers? Is this possible in a world where some fathers are actually cold and uninvolved? Is this possible in a world where some fathers fail to live up to their children’s expectations—in a world full of pain, broken families, and rejection?
Here are stories of three different people reflecting on how the absence of a father affected them and their relationships with others:
“I missed having someone whom I can enjoy things with and joke around with once in a while. I also missed having someone that I can run to when my other parent was hard to love. I don’t remember us talking about it before it happened. It felt like I always needed to have it together just to prove that I’m not like my parents. There’s ultimately a lot of trying to prove that I was different, or I was worth something.” — Belle
“They didn’t know who I really was because of my strong front and my secretive nature. This also led me to have issues when it comes to relating with people, particularly in terms of building trust and relationship.” — Tony
“The fact that my father was away and had another family affected me in a way that was so subtle I didn’t even know there was a wound. I would say that my family isn’t ideal, but they are mine and I love them.” — Claire
Many people have experienced a lot of hurts from living in a broken home. But someone was able to fill that empty spot that none of their parents could fill. Someone stepped in to be that loving, perfect Father for them. Someone who is able to restore them and to bring them from being broken into being confident, healed people.
Here are these people now, healed from their wounds:
“I love you and I forgive you. You’ve caused me a lot of pain without intention and I know there are days when you blame yourself for it. But I want you to know that it was all orchestrated by God. I also want to say thank you for loving me from afar and allowing God to teach me that He is so much nearer than I thought. Because of you, I was able to look up to God as my Almighty Father and I want to thank you for that.” — Tony
“I still hope that we’d become whole again someday but for now, I love my family just the way it is.” — Claire
“Today, since that point when I accepted God, it’s been an amazing journey. God’s been healing my relationship with people and it’s super great that a family that used to always fight, now always bonds together, talks together, and makes that effort to be in each other’s lives.” — Belle
Is it really that simple to heal and to forgive? It is never easy to grow up in a single parent home, and it is certainly difficult to forgive anyone who hurt and betrayed you, especially one who has been doing it for years.
There is one thing these people know with certainty in order for them to come to terms with their family’s circumstance:
Jesus Christ did not just die on the cross so our sins can be forgiven. He also brought the gift of restoration—that because of the mercy shown to us, we can extend forgiveness to those who have hurt us.
At what cost is this mercy and grace? The only perfect Father-Son relationship in all of eternity was sacrificed, so our wounds can be healed. When Jesus Christ cried out in Matthew 27:46, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” it signified that God the Father stilled His hand from rescuing His own Son, so that His sons and daughters who have gone astray could be brought home. So that the people who felt like they could not belong anywhere could be brought to a place where they actually felt loved and belonged.
This is for you if ever you felt like you had to keep proving yourself or felt like you were never good enough to receive love. But you are loved, and will always be.
Nothing will be able to change that fact, because God is a Father who loves His children unconditionally, so much so that He works in us and transforms us to be more like Him in every way.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God . . .
John 1:12 (NIV)