Knowing God As a Father

01.14.2016

Anna Stevens-CCSM 2015Guest writing today on the Cross Church School of Ministry blog is Anna Stevens. Anna is with the Cross Church School of Ministry on the Women’s Ministry track. She joins the CCSM from Bristol, Tennessee.

If you grow up without a father, relating to God as a Father feels next to impossible. This is something that I’ve dealt with a lot over the past several years. Though I’m 26, it has taken a long time for me to realize how much my view of fatherhood greatly affects how I view God as a father. It is no wonder to me why, in a generation where more children grow up fatherless than ever before, our view of God is more distorted than ever before. One out of every three children grows up in fatherless home. And that doesn’t even take into account families where the father is physically present, but emotionally absent. In a nation where fatherlessness is an epidemic, we see more and more people walk away from the church and everything it is about. Where fatherhood has been absent or misrepresented by the imperfect fathers of the world, understanding God as a GOOD Father seems almost impossible.

I grew up in the church, as a believer in Jesus as my Savior and my Lord. I knew about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I went to all the Disciple Now events and church camps. I served as a church intern and even worked in ministry just out of college, but in that time, I always felt like there was an invisible line I couldn’t cross, a part of God that I was missing out on. It caused me to doubt my salvation and, for seasons, to feel like some part of a relationship with God was out of reach. I’ve learned over the years that I was not alone in this.

The Lord began a journey of teaching me about my fatherlessness about three years ago and, truthfully, I tried to ignore it. I was independent and strong and I didn’t need a dad. I was going into ministry; surely the Lord would be enough. But the problem was, I couldn’t understand God as a father until I understood how much I did need one. I needed a father who was trustworthy, who would provide for me, love me unconditionally, who would show me grace, who would give me an identity that nothing could shake because I would forever be his child. But I didn’t get that on this earth. I got a father who hurt my family and chose not to be around. I had to struggle through the reality of this and how it affected my friendships, my relationships, and how I viewed myself. And it was supposed to, because the role of a father in the life of a child is irreplaceable. I needed a father and God made Himself my only option, but I didn’t know how to view God as a Father, which is right where He stepped in.

It was all about me admitting my need of Him and my dependence upon Him, and all at once, the Gospel began to shine so brightly. The Lord opened my eyes to see that this was all about getting me to Him. I could see how He allowed my father not to be in the picture so that He could shine brighter in my life. Being God’s daughter changes everything. He chose to adopt me into His family. He chose me. I’ve never understood the love of a Father like that. But is has been worth the wait because it is the Gospel.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1

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