In Isaiah 55:8 the Lord told the prophet Isaiah, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My way…” In other words, Son, you and I don’t think the same way, nor do we see events through the same pair of eyes (paraphrase authors).
During times of great persecution, Israel struggled to see the goodness and kindness of the Lord in anything that was going on in their lives. Often reaping the fruit of their own disobedience and rebellion they found themselves riveted to all the negativity and failed to see the grace or love that was present as well.
In their minds, the Father was both the author of good as well as evil. He was the rewarder of all who walked in perfect obedience, and the punisher of those who failed.
He poured out affection, blessing and favor on the righteous. And He withheld that same love, blessing and favor from those we were not. The result was a distorted view of almost everything He tried to do on their behalf.
Unfortunately there are many times when you and I still see the Father this way ourselves. How often have you made a mistake and thought, “Father God is going to withhold His affection and goodness from me until I repent and make this right.”
But even after you repented you never felt like it was enough. Somewhere deep inside, you still felt like there was something more that you needed to do to gain the Father’s affection once again.
And so you busy yourself with reading the bible more, praying more, and worshipping longer. You make vows to yourself that you’ll volunteer the next time someone asks for help in Sunday school or help out in the Fellowship room after church more.
While there is nothing wrong with reading your bible, praying for others, spending time in worship, or volunteering to help out in church, none of those things have anything to do with where you stand in the affections of your Abba Father.
The Apostle John puts it this way, “For God so loved the world…”
In his book, The Furious Longings of God, Brennan Manning tells of his life long struggle with alcoholism. In the aftermath of one of his prolonged journeys into its debilitating fog he relates the story of waking up to see a young boy staring at him in curiosity, and his mother trying to shield him from Brennan’s filth covered visage. “That filth was Brennan Manning, thirty-two years ago. And the God I’ve come to know by sheer grace, the Jesus I met in the grounds of my own self, has furiously loved me regardless of my state–grace or disgrace. And why? For His love is never, never, never based on our performance, never conditioned by our moods–of elation or depression. The furious love of God knows no shadow of alteration or change. It is reliable. And always tender.”
1. Find a quiet place without distractions (this would be a good time to play soaking music) and spend a few minutes thanking the Father of Love for sending the Son of His love Jesus to pay the penalty for every sin, adopting you into His family of love and wanting to bring you into an encounter with His love.
2. After you’ve come to a place in your rest where you begin to feel connected to the Father, ask Holy Spirit to help you wait a little longer.
3. When you’re comfortable again, ask Him to help you see the Father’s love and affection for you apart from all you do. If you suddenly stopped reading your bible, praying, worshipping and volunteering in church, what would being loved by Abba look like?
4. Write down what Holy Spirit shows you. Now if there are areas that are difficult for you to imagine being loved without your doing something to earn that love, ask Jesus to come and stand there and pour His healing love into it until all that is left is you, Abba Father and love.
5. It may take some time before you’re comfortable being loved by Abba apart from anything you do, but remember this: He loves teaching you how.