A friend is on a spiritual quest that I find fascinating. Her desire, this year, is to get to know God as her Father.
I’m no expert on faith or theology. But I do know this: my own feeble understanding of God as my Father has brought me more comfort, hope and joy than almost anything else in my life. So I’m confident my friend’s search—however it goes—will be worth it.
Here’s what intrigues me, though. Often in life, we get to know God in a deeper way when we experience a specific aspect of His character in a specific time of need. We need provision, He is our Provider. We need healing, He heals us. We’re anxious, He is our Peace.
But rather than waiting for a specific time of need, my friend is asking God to show Himself as her Father right now.
I admire her proactivity—and her courage.
Asking the God of the universe to reveal Himself to us in any way is risky. God created us, which means He knows the most effective way to fulfill our desires. If we ask to know Him better as our Father, for example, He just might create in us a need for a father through circumstances that didn’t even exist before.
Personally, it’s been the things I’ve struggled with mightily—begged to be freed from, even—that have exposed my weakness and forced my dependence on God’s fatherly attributes of strength, love and compassion. He could’ve ordained an easier way for me, but because He’s my Father and has my best interests at heart, He’s often allowed the opposite.
Thankfully, though, we don’t have to wait for a crisis. Any sincere father likely would be thrilled if his child said, “Dad, I want to get to know you better.” How much more then would God, the only perfect Father, rejoice to receive such a request from us?
About 11 years ago, I did this with my own dad. We’d always been close, but I’d never really paid much attention to what truly makes him tick. Having recently become a parent myself, knowing my 69-year-old father on this level was suddenly imperative. So, on two separate occasions, we sat down together with a handheld tape recorder and I interviewed him.
Eventually, more than 100 questions turned into 35 typed pages of history, stories and wisdom. It’s a document—and an experience—I will always treasure.
I recalled this project when thinking about my friend’s spiritual quest. And suddenly, everything clicked.
If we have accepted God’s gift of grace in our lives, He is our Father. It’s an immutable relational fact. So, if we want to get to know Him as our Father, we need to get to know Him.
We can’t sit down with God and point the microphone at Him. But we can sit down with an open Bible and get to know Him through His redemptive story.
It’s that simple, and that life-changing.
Note: This post originally appeared in the Kansas City Star.
P.S. Linking up this week with Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart.