“See how very much our Father loves us, for He calls us His children, and that is what we are! But, but the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know Him.
1 John 3:1 (emphasis mine)
A good friend of mine told me a while ago that (because she’s adopted) she hates history. She says it’s because she doesn’t have one. She also told me that the God I know must be “different” than the G/god that others she’s in contact with know. Without trying to speculate too much into why that could be, I will assume that it is because some of the people she knows who call themselves Christians have a nasty habit of using God to their advantage or twisting His word or His character to hurt her.
The sad thing about the fact that she and I just had this conversation a few months ago, is the fact that I’ve known her for several years. At first, she was just a friend of my husband’s family and then we developed a friendship that was more our own. Knowing how she had so been hurt in the past by people claiming to be followers of Christ, I hid that part of me from her for years. Maybe I didn’t want to scare her off. Maybe I didn’t want to be associated with people that used Scripture to make themselves look good – or to make her look bad. Whatever the reason, she did not see my “God side” as she does now until the middle of last year.
When I think about people who have had bad experiences with the church or with people of God, it saddens me greatly. As a follower of Christ, I fully recognize the immense love He has for us and the desire He has to enter into a personal relationship with us. A book I’m reading for a class I’m taking breaks down the verse above by interpreting the key words more accurately based on the original words that were chosen. The word “see” used is more precisely a word that should mean “stop and take notice”; “how very much” is more “immeasurable beyond reason or comprehension”; “He loves us” describes something that is exceeding and continuous with no possible end.
That really seems like a lot to take in! I’d like to think I love my children a lot – like many of you who are parents likely love your children with everything you have in you. But, what God has in Him is so much bigger than what we can offer, it makes our “immeasurable” love for our children minuscule by comparison.
So why so much love?
Romans 8:15 talks about us receiving “The Spirit of adoption” by which we can look to God and cry out “Abba Father” (most often translated as a word similar to “Daddy”). The next verse says something that I think is often looked over. “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” We. Are. His. Kids. You may have had the best parents in the world. You’re still God’s kid. You may have had the worst parents in the world. You’re still God’s kid. You may not know you’re parents. You’re still God’s kid. And just like with our children, sometimes the Father has to let us fall down so that we learn how to get back up. As much as we’d like to protect our children from every bad thing that happens, sometimes we have to let them go through things so they can learn. We always have their backs. We’re always here to support them. We always love them.
So, what do I say to a friend who is going through so much right now it brings tears to my eyes? How do I tell her it’s going to be okay? How do I help her find her history? The next verse in Romans 8 (17) says this: “Now, if we are His children, then we are the co-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if needed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” And, there it is! Sometimes, we have to go through bad things. Hard things. Things that make us question where God is and if His love is real. But, (as is stated in Romans 8:28) “we know that all things work together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” We were never promised easy. We have always been promised love.
It is in that love that we find our history.
We see the way that the love of God has sustained our brothers and sisters in Christ whether they be our family, our friends our church members or individuals whose lives were detailed within the pages of the Bible. We know where we came from. We know who our family is. And, if we’re willing to align ourselves in God, we know where we’re going.
So, if you are feeling displaced or disconnected, remember that your history is HIS-STORY. Because He is your Father, you can look to Him and know that you are treasured in a way that goes beyond words. He made you in His image and for His purpose. Isaiah 44:2 says, “This is what the Lord says – He who made you, Who formed you in your mother’s womb and Who will help you. DO NOT BE AFRAID.”
So, take a breath, and remember that your Dad is looking out for you. He’s got your back. He loves you. He knows your history. He knows where you’re going. Know what that means?
…you’re gonna be okay…