When we don’t learn how to know God as our Father, we have a difficult time digesting all the other truths about Him. These are hard truths such as suffering of the innocent, why so many are going hungry in a world of His provision, and others. You cannot accept God for who He is if you do not trust Him like a Father. I’ve been told that in the early church the new Christians were not taught the Lord’s Prayer until after they were baptized because they could not understand that God was their Father until the Holy Spirit entered them. There is no other spiritual reality that I live in that I wish I could pour over those to whom I teach and minister. I long for them to connect to God as their Daddy-God.
I’ve known that God sees me as His beloved for real for many, many years. It is a transforming experience. This semester I’m teaching my favorite book in the Bible, Romans 8. My favorite verses in the Bible are Romans 8:1, "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus". And 1 John 3:1, "How great a love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God and that is exactly who we are." This week I taught Romans 8:15, "The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” Next semester I will teach on Ephesians 6, “Spiritual Warfare and how Satan wants to disguise the truth about us”. The anchoring truth is that we are God’s beloved children.
I am privileged to comprehend that I am God’s beloved daughter. What amazed me this week is that God wanted to drive this lesson home for me in ways that surprised and delighted me. The day after I taught Romans 8:15, I attended a retreat. The first thing we did was draw a self-portrait; I drew a heart with the words God’s beloved daughter across the top. Inside were some other things, pain and joy—but I know what is truest about me is that I am a dearly loved child of God. I want everyone to know the deep connection to God that forms when you know Him as your father. I wrote a book on this topic “How Really Love God as YourFather.” It is my favorite book I wrote. I love this topic. I loved teaching it. I feel like I’m an expert on it, but God had even more to show me when I thought I had taught all I knew.
During the retreat God wanted me to learn that I am His beloved daughter through total pampering. I’m a big believer in retreats. I love Silent Retreats. I love to spend time being quiet in nature with God. I checked the weather for this retreat, and to my delight I discovered the weekend was perfect for spending time on retreat with God. But this retreat was not at all what I expected. It was jam-packed with surprises, gifts of love and nurture. I can’t go into details because most of it is meant to be a secret, but I was shown the love God has for me in very tangible, very sweet, very unexpected ways. God was giving me a completely different experience of His delight in me as His daughter through forcing me to sit down and receive His love from the human hands, feet, hugs, and love of total strangers who were full of His Spirit.
I’m usually on the other end of giving retreats. It is a totally different experience to be on the receiving end of all this love and focus. God wanted me to know that our relationship is happening in this world and there are sweet experiences in this world that He has given to remind me in tangible ways that He is my Father. It isn’t just a relationship that is experienced through prayer, or Bible reading, but it is real and sweet and personal. I can’t wait to tell my class how last week’s lesson led to deeper love between my Daddy-God and me.