As women, our view of God is often greatly influenced by the men we have known—particularly our fathers. Our perception of God can be positively or negatively shaped by those men. I am blessed and deeply grateful to have had a loving, faithful, involved father. This has made is easier for me to trust my heavenly Father and to receive His love.
However, many women have had just the opposite experience. Your father may have been distant, absent, overbearing, harsh, abusive, or unable to express love. If so, the idea of God being your “Father” may make you cringe. You may relate to these women:
“I had a stepfather who was cruel to me, and it is very hard to accept that God is not like him.”
“My dad is a Christian and a good guy, but I have never heard much encouragement from him. For instance, when I would help him paint, I would say, ‘Does this look okay?’ hoping to hear, ‘Hey, that looks really nice!’ But he would only say, ‘Try not to____ [whatever].’ Maybe that is why I imagined God finding fault instead of loving me unconditionally and accepting me.”
If you have been wounded by a father—or another man you trusted—you may find it difficult to trust God. You may even be afraid of Him or angry with Him. You must believe me when I tell you that God is not like any man you have ever known. The wisest, kindest earthly father is but a pale reflection of our heavenly Father. The God of the Bible is infinitely more wonderful and pure and loving than even the most wonderful father. That is why it is so important that we not allow our view of God to be determined by other men, for at their very best they are flawed representations of God.
If you want to know what God is really like, you need to turn to the Word of God, which clearly reveals what He is like; you need to get to know Jesus, who is the “radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (Heb. 1:3).
The God of the Bible is a compassionate, tender, merciful Father. That doesn’t mean He gives us everything we want—no wise father would give his children everything they want. It doesn’t mean we can always understand His decisions—He is far too great for that. It doesn’t mean He never allows us to suffer pain—in fact, at times, He actually inflicts pain and hardship upon us. Why? Because He loves us. Because He cares about us. Because He is committed to us. Hebrews tells us, “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness” (12:10).
Regardless of how we feel or what we think, the fact remains that He is a good Father who dearly loves His children—a Father who can be trusted with our lives. Do you believe that? Why or why not?
Excerpted from Lies Women Believe: and the Truth That Sets Them Free! by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.