If there’s one name for God that has the power to dramatically transform the lives of believers, it’s that we can call God “Abba” or “Father.” To see God as our Father changes everything. In Brennan Manning’s book, The Furious Longing of God, he asks a pertinent and powerful question:
Is your own personal prayer life characterized by the simplicity, childlike candor, boundless trust, and easy familiarity of a little one crawling up in Daddy’s lap? An assured knowing that the daddy doesn’t care if the child falls asleep, starts playing with toys, or even starts chatting with little friends, because the daddy knows the child has essentially chosen to be with him for that moment? Is that the spirit of your interior prayer life?
When I first read these questions I thought to myself, “Surely it can’t be this simple. Surely this can’t be all God expects of me.” We’ve missed the mark on what it truly means to be children of a good, near, and loving Father. We’ve projected our own insecurities, perspectives, and experiences on a God who is love embodied. There is nothing we can ever do to make God love us any more than he already does. And there is nothing we can ever do to make him love us any less. God loves us because he loves us. He enjoys us because he enjoys us. He wants to be with us because that’s how he is, not because we somehow earn his desire for us.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Even while we were in sin and separation from God, he loved us enough to pay the highest price to have us. So great was his depth of love for us that Jesus laid down his own life as the atonement for our mistakes, failures, weaknesses, and frailty. If God loved us then unconditionally, he loves us now unconditionally. If God would choose us then, he chooses us now. If God desired us then, he desires us now.
If we’re going to center our lives around meeting with God, we must understand the nature of his love for us. We must begin to relate to him as our good and loving Father above all else. We must cast aside any notion that he is angry with us, far from us, or void of affection or desire for us. We will only be drawn to our heavenly Father to the degree that we take him at his word and trust in his love for us. Take time today to receive the overwhelming, unconditional love of God for you. Allow his love to reorient your perspectives and beliefs. And respond to his great love by opening your heart and having fellowship with your Creator, Sustainer, and all-loving heavenly Father.