I re-read this last night. This was the first post Bryan had shared with me. Coincidentally, it was written on my birthday.. how cool. It was neat to read this last night after having had some time to get to know each other better. When you can read a work someone’s written through the lens of relationship, wow, there is just an added ‘something’ that just wasn’t there before. This man has a beautiful and unique relationship with God the Father, and you can truly catch a glimpse of that here. Enjoy and be blessed!
A Father’s Patience
Have you ever abused the grace of God? I mean, knowing that it was there and that it would never leave. That because you know He is never changing and always loving that you could “get away with” something? Don’t get me wrong, the idea here isn’t to avoid worldly consequences for any sort of action or even heavenly ones. But I think there comes a time in a Christian’s life when they get really solidified and rooted in understanding His love and grace and it opens up a new facet of relationship with Him.
Let me explain. In the world we all have fathers. Many can relate to the idea that, when they were young, they could get away with certain things because of how they knew their father viewed them. They understood their report with their father or mother, as the case may be. I’ll never forget the first time I cursed in anger in front of my parents as if it were NOT the end of the world for me. My parents knew I was overcome with emotion and were willing to overlook my temporary lapse in judgement.
But God is not just any parent. He is perfect light. There is no darkness in Him. Yet He is merciful and long-suffering with us when we are sometimes darkness. He dedicated His incarnation to that very premise. Once I learned to accept and depend on the fact that His mercy and love and grace are eternally mine, no matter what I do, then I had to re-evaluate how I live. I no longer felt the need to beat myself up about mistakes and found that this released me, freed me, to chose better. There was no pressure. God was going to love me no matter what. Something about that freedom makes me love Him and want to do what’s right.
But then one day I got angry with Him. Not angry with the idea of God. Not angry with someone else’s idea of God. I had come to know Him and have a real personal relationship with Him. I was truly angry with God, The Father. My Father. Because I received Him as a real person and entered into a relationship with Him, I started to enjoy some of the dynamics of a real father-son relationship. As sometimes happens between any father and son, I got angry with Him. I can honestly say that I lashed out at Him because I wasn’t getting my way. I wanted to hurt God.
What does any child do when they want to register just how displeased they are with their parent? They rebel. I chose to violate my own conscience, to sin, knowing full well that were I to calm down and change my mind (repent, for those of you who only speak christianese), He would offer me only acceptance and love. And I was so angry with Him and so aware of my eternal place in His heart that I didn’t even think of playing the “I don’t believe in you anymore” game. We’ve been through that one before; He didn’t flinch. So I went out and acted the fool. Now, what violates my conscience most is going to be different than what violates yours most. That’s just how it is. So for the sake of this discussion just imagine what single thing you would be the most ashamed of doing in anger. Yeah, I did that.
He tried to stop me. He spoke to me in the usual ways, on all channels, all frequencies. I responded with, “OH YEAH!!! WATCH THIS!!” He gave me no warning. There was no fire or brimstone. There were no threats. He was just calm. Eventually He stopped talking. That gave me pause. But it didn’t give me a stop. I was still mad and He was going to KNOW IT!
When it was all over with, I felt like Hell. I was emotionally bankrupt. My soul ached. My body and my spirit were just fine. Some feelings were hurt but besides that there was little or no wreckage. It was an odd feeling. I noticed that He had not only protected me during my tirade but also all of my interests. There were no discernable consequences! God says to me, “Son, you have a choice to make now.” I said, “I know, Dad.” He said, “I don’t have to explain it to you, do I?” I said, “No. I know that I can choose to see what I just did through your eyes or through the eyes of the world. I know I can be forgiven. I know you still love me. I know that this tantrum changes nothing.” He said, “That’s my boy. Now come on home.”
Having never done something so wrong for so long presented a dicey situation for me. Never before had I been so tempted as a christian to condemn myself. Never before in my life had I ever earned the right to wallow in self-pity, self-hatred, self self self. But He was speaking to me more than ever. He kept reinforcing how my life is defined by Him. How my value is not determined by any single action. How the torturous death of Jesus was such a high price that I could never make heaven go into debt. He just kept pouring love and mercy and grace out into my heart. “My ways are not your ways.” He said. “Do you now understand that being conscious of sin is pointless? I have no more anger left to give. Jesus paid the tab for last night’s behavior. Should you continue to live in anger at me or anything else, Jesus will still have been sacrificed. I am free to love you not matter what you do, son. And you are forever free to receive that love. I will wait for you.” In the face of all that, I truly truly repented. Not just of what I did to voilate my conscience but of even getting angry at my Father.
But it wasn’t until today, 5 days later, while talking with Him again, that I finally understood what my actual sin was. The real “issue” to be dealt with, father-to-son was that I had abused His grace. Had I been aware of grace the night I got angry, I never would have become angry. And I could probably prattle on and on about how I got so distracted that I missed His grace, but that’s not of eternal significance. What’s eternally significant for me AND YOU is that in order for me to see grace, He allowed me to abuse it and NOT SAY A WORD about it. He comforted and consoled and counseled me out of a mire of self-centered pain after I had rebelled against Him in anger. Then He let me believe the matter was settled, that I had learned the lesson, and then waited patiently for it all to dawn on me. He withheld nothing while He waited. He gave me full-on revelation this week. He took me to new heights. He walked with me and talked with me. He continued to be my Father.
I purposely abused His grace and His reaction was to give me even more of it.