Like Father Like Son
by Christina Shelley
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God is described as many things.
He's the Beginning and the End, he's the friend who sticks closer than a brother, he's our shepherd, our rock, our fortress, our defense. I became born again at the age of fifteen, and was blessed to attend a Bible-beleiving church. It was then that I began to get to know my Heavenly Father. Untainted by time, experience, or regret-- my passion seemed endless. God was the Answer to everything I didn't know, and this was all I needed to know. Pretty simple, right?
Fast forward fifteen years...
While God never changes, time has a way of changing perspective. Through circumstances, one is broken and refined, and rough edges are slowly chiseled. Looking back, as I've grown in the Lord, trusting him has not come as easily as I believed it would. Especially where there's grief involved, I've found myself hiding behind a wall of defense. I've told God that I knew I needed to trust him; but felt a sting of insincerity followed by a chasm of distance. So, why have I been unsure that God who spoke the universe into existence is completely trustworthy? If Christ is the Solid Rock, why have I been sinking in the sand?
I've struggled with believing that God has been angry with me for the shaky ground I've been attempting to stand on; and the one thing I've had most trouble figuring out, is why... Shouldn't I know better? Shouldn't I have stronger faith?...
My dad had a metal hook that attatched to his keys. He would hang this hook onto his belt, giving a distinctive jingle. He had a pair of heavy boots with pointed toes. I remembered their clap across cement, or the kitchen floor. He always had a full beard, and long, thick, dark hair that went all the way to hs waist. It's no mystery that many people grow up with their dad not in the home. This was the case with me. My parents went their seperate ways when I was only three; and these memories are the few flashes of recognition I got of him before they seperated.
A three year old knows nothing about why dad doesn't live at home anymore, or that it will affect her ability to trust later on. The distance between my dad and me has affected my ability to trust my Heavenly Father and allow Him to love me. I've always had a "relationship" with my dad--yes. When I was about five, I began spending weekends with him. I spent summers with him, and took some wonderful trips to Arkansas, where dad was born.
I have never doubted that both my parents love me with all their hearts, and I believe their intention was to try and protect me. However, what I've come to realize is that I've learned to associate protection with my dads' absence, rather than with his presence. I learned to love my dad, but it was always at a distance, and based on a hope of who I created him to be, rather than who he really was.
A light went on the day I learnd about our human father being a picture of how we love our Heavenly Father. I was listening to the radio. I believe the program was "Focus on the Family"... "Our earthly father is designed to give a picture of our Heavenly Father." I took this statement in with some sadness. It wasn't sadness for me. I was thinking of people who'd never had any relationship with their dad, due to abandonment or death.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper once described his fathers' death as "...that slap of silence that reset the clock." If such circumstances exist, how does a person learn to trust Jesus by example? For instace, I know that a gentle answer turns away wrath (Prov. 15:1), but have not had much life experience in this department. I come from a family over-reactors and am used to outbursts and insults.
While this behavior isn't God's will, it's what I have learned by example. As a result, I've also gone through the heartbreak of repeating horrible habbits that I've wanted to be rid of. In Joel ch. 2, verses 24 and 25, God makes a promise about time that seems to have been mis-spent. "...and the threshing floors will be full of grain, and the vats filled with new wine and oil. Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the creeping locust, the stripping locust, and the gnawing locust."
God has restored to me the years that seem to have been eaten away. My dad knows the Lord now, and relationship between father and daughter is healthier than it's ever been. I'm learning to honor him, and he's learning gentleness towards me. Gradually, anger, outbursts and fear have become affirmation and a mutual respect for one another. The walls of defense, insincerity and distance have been broken down through a wonderful restoration of our relationships with the Lord, which has allowed my relationship with my dad to be restored.
Perhaps your relationship with your dad has been broken, or is non-existent. Please know that the Lord desires to restore your years that the locust has eaten. God promise to help and comfort us, and is always ready to give wisdom when we ask. (See James 1:5 and Josh. 1: 9). Pray and ask him to give you a tangible example of what a daddy is. I find that Charles Ingalls, Cliff Huxtable and Ward Cleaver are excellent! Some evening, read Matthew chapters 1 and 2, and Luke chapter 2. Look at the relationships of this trio: Jesus, his Heavenly Father and his human father. Know beloved that he is able to be sensitive to your longing and your hurt. Know that he's been there, and he understands, and let him restore you from the inside out.
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Good Article. There are many out there that can identify with this. I, too, had difficulty with my "heavenly Father" since my earthly father was not what he should have been. I know now that he was the best earthly father he knew how to be. It took me a long time in walking with Jesus for me to see "Father God" as loving, gentle, forgiving, etc. I had to remember the scriptures that tell us God forgives us and no longer remembers our sins or shortcomings; that he sees us through the blood of Jesus. I also I had to learn that satan is the accuser of the brethren and boy!!! does he attack our minds with things God has already forgot. I did not intend to go on and on, but again, thank you for writing this so many others can be blessed. GOD BLESS YOU