Yesterday, as I was in my little hide out at work (a.k.a…the Glennonhouse attic) I realized something. Everything I had written down for 2018 and the things I was contending for had a whole lot to do with me —me...me...me. I mean sure, my requests aligned with God’s heart, but they were still a bit selfish once I honestly reflected upon them.
I had to repent for a moment.
It’s so easy to come to God flooded with requests and never stop to consult him on what’s stirring HIS heart.
So I paused for a second…and then I asked Him, ”God…what’s on your heart?”
It didn’t take long for me to get an answer.
I felt the Holy Spirit subtly whisper, “Janae, I’m so misunderstood. If people really knew me and my big daddy heart, I’d NEVER be rejected or blamed.”
The nudging of the Holy Spirit was like a piercing fire within me. All of the sudden the things I was contending for held a lot less weight. It’s probably what Jesus meant when he said, “My food is to do the will of my father.” There is something life-giving when we begin to partner with God to see his will done here on earth.
So yesterday, after feeling the prompting of the Lord to be his biggest advocate on his true father’s heart…I sat down and made a list.
What are the traits of a perfect father?
Here's a few things that came to my mind…
1. A perfect father is fully convinced of the worth and awesomeness of his children —having absolutely nothing to do with their actions. A perfect father loves his children simply because they’re his offspring.
I know for me, my earthly father was not perfect, but (low-key) sometimes I have to ask myself what he did wrong…cause it beats me. I had a pretty dang good father. And one thing that I learned from him, which has marked me to my core, is unconditional love.
No matter how rebellious, sassy, overweight, ugly (and trust me my middle school years were quite miserable), independent, and controlling I was at certain times in my life, my father was FULLY CONVINCED that I was awesome and was going to change the world one day. There was absolutely nothing I could say or do to convince him of other wise. Even when I was at my worst.
This is how God loves us.
Nothing you could ever say or do could make God change his mind about you.
He knows authentic you. The you that was created before he even placed you inside your mother’s womb. The one he chose before he even decided what family you’d be born in, or the stories that make up who you are (Jeremiah 1:5).
He’s fully convinced about that you —the authentic you.
2. A perfect father does not punish simply to inflict pain. He only allows his child to experience pain because he sees the opportunity for growth in his or her life (even at the risk that the child will be angry at him for a season).
In a healthy parent/child interaction, the father only disciplines with an end goal in mind —to help the child grow into maturity. No healthy earthly father is going to inflict pain on his children simply because he feels like it…or because they “deserve” it. Sure, many of us have experienced this reality, but that is not a true representation of a perfect father.
I meet with far too many individuals on a daily basis that are left paralyzed because of their anger at God. Why? Because they’ve allowed themselves to toil with questions like, “Why did God allow this pain and suffering? How could he actually be good if he did not stop this?”
You guys, there are many questions we have that will not be answered on this side of eternity. But I am sick and tired of blaming God for what the enemy has been doing —not God. According to the very foundation of what we believe (scripture), the devil is roaring around seeking whom he can devour. He has come to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He is the author of sickness, of pain, of suffering. Not God. God came to bring life —and life ABUNDANTLY.
It’s really important that any conclusion we make about God is found in the character of Jesus, because Jesus came to reveal the father.
So what do we see in Jesus? We see kindness. We see a deep love for the sinner. Healing. Forgiveness. Fellowship. Compassion. Willingness to see the roots behind every human heart. A hatred for religious rules and earthly judgement.
This is who Jesus is. And this is who my father is —point blank.
Jesus never sent away a sick person simply because he or she still needed to go through a “process.” Jesus never condemned sinners who came to him out of their need for help. That’s not what Jesus did. Therefore, I cannot conclude that this is who my father is.
God ONLY uses pain for a time of training. He only uses it for our greater good.
Hebrews 12: 7-11 --As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
I believe if we stop blaming God for what the enemy is doing, and we take all our anger and channel it towards destroying the works of the devil, we will see a great awakening and the true goodness of God will be revealed to the people desperately longing to encounter it.
3. A perfect father loves to be with his kids. His #1 priority is connection —over his work and their work.
In a healthy parent/child relationship, a father does not value work over connection. God is not too busy with other things to be with you. That’s why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit —the Holy Spirit was given to us so that we can be with the presence of God at ALL times.
The reality is, all the things we’re looking for in a human —connection, consistency, loyalty, unconditional love, joy, humor, adventure, the promise the person will never fail us, etc.—all these things can actually only be guaranteed by God.
God ALWAYS wants to be with us. That will never change. He is consistent, loyal, faithful, unwavering. He is longing for intimacy beyond simply "working" for him.
So why the heck do we push him away?
I pray for those of you wrestling with questions of “Why?” Or, “How can he be good?” that you would be free enough to come before the Lord and hash it out with him. Get in touch with your anger and tell him how it makes you feel. Don’t suppress those questions or emotions. God can handle your honesty because in a healthy parent/child relationship there should be full freedom to express oneself.
However, my biggest encouragement is after you’ve hashed it out…surrender your need to "know." If we live with the constant need to logically explain the mysteries of God, we will ALWAYS be left discouraged and confused.
I pray you will read about the life and heart of Jesus and fall in love with him. I promise you the life of Jesus WILL reveal the true father heart of God. And goodness, when we truly encounter his wild and relentless love, we will NEVER doubt or push God away again.