“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.” Matthew 10:29 (NIV)
A good friend’s father abandoned the family when she was young. As a result, she struggled relating to God as her Father. Another friend’s dad was harsh and critical. It took years for her to feel unconditionally loved by God.
As a young Christian, I was thankful I didn’t have major issues with my father. Although my dad wasn’t a Christ-follower, he allowed my mom to take me and my little sister to church. And though he never said, “I love you” nor attended any of my school performances, I knew he loved me in his own way. My father was a good man, hardworking and faithful to his family. However, he was an uninvolved presence in my life.
So if I had a problem, I went to my mother. If I got into trouble, I called my mother. When I wanted advice, well, you can guess whom I called. This didn’t seem odd to me.
For years I congratulated myself on navigating my father’s distant personality with minimal negative impact. I was deeply aware it could have been worse, and I thanked God for a happy childhood. It wasn’t until years later as an adult that I pushed a little deeper into relating to God as my heavenly Father, based on my earthly experience.
Back then I’d heard everyone (even those with great dads) has some kind of “father issue” with God because of their human (and inherently sinful) earthly fathers. While I wanted to dismiss it, I decided to revisit the topic. Could it be true for me? Was there something missing in my relationship with God?
As I dug deep, I discovered that although I was confident of God’s love, I didn’t really trust Him to be there in times of trouble. Would He step in if I had a problem? Does God even care about me?
Every question revealed the same disturbing truth: I didn’t really, truly, deep in my heart, trust God. Believe in? Yes. Love? Yes. But … trust? The words were easy to mouth, but my heart wasn’t singing the same tune.
This realization shed light on so many issues that hadn’t seemed troublesome enough to address. Like why I had trouble praying for myself. And why I had so much fear for myself and my children, or why I neglected to seek God’s wisdom in decision-making.
Seems I really did have “father issues” that affected my intimacy with God. I didn’t know what it was like to have a father to turn to in good or bad times. But I wanted to learn. I desperately wanted to know God as a perfect Father.
So as awkward as it felt, I made some changes.
I intentionally got more personal in prayer, even addressing God as “Dad.” (Mark 14:36) Faced with decisions, even small ones, I asked God for advice. (James 1:5) And when fear started to well up, like when I navigated a fear of flying, I declared, “I don’t trust the pilot, I don’t trust the mechanic who tightened the bolts, I don’t trust the weather, I trust YOU!” (Psalm 91)
Little by little, my faith and trust grew. I took doubtful thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and intentionally exchanged them with thoughts that affirmed God’s trustworthiness to help in times of trouble.
I also took today’s key verse to heart: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care” (Matthew 10:29). It took years to rewire my thinking with the truth about God’s ability and willingness to be my heavenly Father. And honestly, I’m still a work in progress.
When I slip back into my independent ways, I must choose to believe what’s true: I have a heavenly Father who wants to be my hero, champion, protector and confidant — if I’ll only let Him.
Dear heavenly Father, You’re perfect in all Your ways. Your Word says You are a loving father, and I long to know You that way. Only You know the gaps in our relationship based on my imperfect understanding of You. Please reveal them to me, and help me work through them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (NIV)
Psalm 91:14-15, “‘Because he loves me,’ says the LORD, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.’” (NIV)
We can claim God's promises that He cares for us when we fully understand God’s Word — knowing Scripture to better live out God's truth in our everyday lives. Connect with the people, places and promises of God's Word in a fresh way during our next Online Bible Study, Seamless: Understanding the Bible as One Complete Story by Angie Smith. Get more information about our summer study, here.
Looking for gift ideas for that wedding, graduation or birthday party? Shop the Proverbs 31 Store and our summer product collection to get exactly what you need so you can finally relax. Click here to shop our summer products collection!
This weekend is Father’s Day in the USA. Maybe deep down you’re longing to connect to your heavenly Father in a personal and intimate way. To learn more about how you can begin a relationship with God through Jesus, click here.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
How does your relationship with your earthly father impact your relationship with your heavenly Father?
What’s one step you can make today to close the gap between you and your heavenly Father? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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