God Is a Good Father: An Excerpt from Stasi Eldredge's "Defiant Joy"
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You have a good, good father. He is Father. It's not merely what He does; it's who He is. You don't have to pack your bags and run away, searching for a better one. You already have the best one. Your Father is the One who has been pursuing you, protecting you, and loving you your entire life.
God, your Father, is love. He loved you as a child, and He loves you now. Right now. But you have questions about that, don't you?
I was just with two sisters who were raped by their step-father, and they will still tell you that God is love, that He is a God who heals, and that it is well with their souls. When they first said that to me, I was speechless. I believed them, and I also knew I was in the presence of the miraculous. Trusting in God can be difficult in and of itself, but trusting in God as a loving Father in the context of such betrayal from an earthly father figure? That is far from easy. Every time I hear a story like this, I want to ask, "But how? How do we continue to trust and love our God when He has let such harm befall us? How do we believe He is our good, good Father?"
That is the question.
We live in a fallen world. Untold atrocities happen every moment. They happen to people we love, and they happen to you and me. But we look at the cross and the love of the Father poured out for us through the blood of His Son, and the question is forever answered. Mysteries abound. Questions are OK. But, the answer remains unchanged.
My friends are loved. I am loved. You are loved. All this time, the things you have been longing for that spoke to you through books, nature, swing sets, tree forts, and every imaginable form of beauty was Him. It was your Father calling you home to His heart, the only safe place for yours.
This is the deepest truth, and the world and all its sorrow and harm cannot touch it.
Remember what Paul told us in his letter to the Romans:
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (–39, NASB)
We live in a larger story. This is not the land of the white picket fences with a chicken in every pot. We don't live in Oz or the Kansas of its wizard. There is an incredibly good ending to our story, but it often isn't on this side of eternity. Joy comes. Here. Joy is available. Now. It is birthed in the unchanging love of our Father. To know God's love is to be able to stand in gusts and gales, and though our bodies be knocked over, our souls remain standing strong. We need His eyes on our stories, and we need to see our stories in light of His.
It's like C. S. Lewis wrote: "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."
The larger story, the Gospel, reminds us that we live in a fallen world and sin abounds. We know that we have an enemy and he is loose, roaming the earth, searching for those he can devour, shred, and maul. He works through fallen people, even through broken, imperfect Christians, to steal, kill, and destroy. And God loves those people. The Father loves them (and us) so much that He sent His Son to die for all of us. He is for you. He fights for you. He woos you. He protects you from further unimaginable harm that you will never endure, and even in the worst of pain, He is fierce on your behalf.
You can rest in His love. The end of your story is a good one. The grass we will walk on one day when Jesus returns is lush and thick and fragrant.
Do you need Him to redeem the word father for you? He can.
Do you need Him to redeem your story for you? He will. It's why Jesus came.
Do you want to know Him as Father? He wants that too.
You are loved. Right now. When God looks at you, He sees the one for whom He gave everything and won everything so that you could be with Him forever. You are chosen. You are the apple of His eye. You are the joy that was set before Jesus. Ask God to help you know that. Ask for His view on your life.
Taken from Defiant Joy: Taking Hold of Hope, Beauty, and Life in a Hurting World by Stasi Eldredge. Copyright © 2018 by Stasi Eldredge. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com.
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