To be loved, valued, and accepted, are intrinsic in every human being from the cradle to the coffin. If they aren’t learned behavior, but are inherent to human nature from the time we are born, why did God create man that way?
Simply put, it is so that He could be the one to meet those needs. It is as if humans possess a three-pronged receptacle within us that can only be satisfied when the life of Jesus Christ is plugged into us.
Apart from Him, nothing else can ever satisfy that longing and we will always be unfulfilled, never escaping the gnawing sense that something eternally important is missing in our lives.
Jesus referred to God as “Father” one hundred and eighty two times in the gospels, by far the most commonly used title of relationship by which God is identified in the New Testament. The word resonates with implications of loving protection and provision.
Since the dawn of mankind, fatherhood has been associated as a position of loving strength and supply. One Bible dictionary defines a father as “the author or beginner of anything” and suggests that the word is “a title of respect for a chief, ruler, or elder.”
A child’s first impression of God generally develops around how he perceives his own earthly father.
He will often carry that underlying concept of God with him throughout life.
However, not everybody grew up in a home where there was a loving father. One man said to me, “In your teaching today, you talked about understanding our heavenly Father’s love and acceptance for us, but that’s hard for me.
My father was never anything other than harsh and judgmental toward me.” His point is well taken. Some people grew up with a father who with an overbearing, authoritarian attitude, one who demanded nothing less than perfection of his children.
Rewards were few, but punishment for failing to meet his standards came quickly. Others grew up in a house with an absentee dad, whose lack of involvement communicated a lack of concern.
God may be like your father, but it is important to understand that God may be nothing like your earthly father.
If you want to know what kind of Father God is, look at Jesus. Consider how he related to those He loved.
- He loved them unconditionally. (See John 13:1)
- He was patient with their weaknesses. (See Matthew 8:25-26)
- He hurt when they hurt. (John 11:33-35)
- He equipped them to do anything He asked them to do. (Matthew 28:17-20)
- He promised to never leave or forsake them. (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5)
God as our Mother.
The main characteristic of a mother with which God identifies Himself is that of being a comforter. His gentleness soothes the hurting Christian.
The Psalmist understood the motherly aspect of God when he said, “Surely I have composed and quieted my soul like a weaned child rests against his mother” (Psalm 131:2).
You may find that your concept of God is strengthened in a way that brings a deeper sense of intimacy into your relationship with Him if you begin to think of the maternal aspects of His affections toward you. Perhaps you are completely comfortable with approaching Him as a Mother.
Spiritual growth often requires that we choose to rise above the traditions which have influenced our lives. At times in our journey of grace, it is necessary to embrace what the Bible teaches and what the Holy Spirit shows us even though it may be uncomfortable initially.
I’m not trying to cause a doctrinal shift in your mind about God as He relates to gender.
In fact, God is a Spirit, and therefore without gender.
God As Our Friend
One benefit of an intimate friend is that there is nothing that can’t be shared between them. True friendship doesn’t disconnect because of faults each may have.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”
One of the strengths of the modern Promise Keepers movement is the emphasis on the importance of men connecting with close friends with whom they can be completely vulnerable and transparent.
God is that kind of friend to you.
Do you feel free to share the deepest and darkest aspects of your life with Him?
You can, because is He completely accepting of you.
Empty religion focuses on laws, but understanding that God’s love is like that of a strong Father, a nurturing Mother, and a faithful Friend can cause you to finally relax and rest in the relationship you have to Him.
You were birthed into the world crying for love, but now you can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit saying, “Hush now, child. Dry your inner tears. God loves you! He loves you with a love that is too big for boundaries. It’s a love that will never die”.
God, alone, can silence your cry for love. All you have to do is believe Him and receive His love, then spend all eternity simply resting and reveling in Him.