Posts Tagged: father figure

God Is Love, But Not The Kind You Are Used To

“Who among the gods is like you, O LORD?Exodus 15:11-13 NIVIt had been 6 years and two children since I’d gone SCUBA diving, and I knew from the raised eyebrow of the dive master that I should have taken a refresher course before signing up for the coral reef. Sensing my inexperience, she spent the boat ride to our dive destination shouting crash-course instructions over the noise of the engine. I kept thinking to myself, it’s just like riding a bike- it will come back to me. After sinking 25 feet below the surface, I discovered that it wasn’t just like riding a bike. I couldn’t remember what button deflated my jacket, and what button inflated my jacket. No big deal really. All I had to do was calmly pump one button and see if I floated up or down. But “calmly” wasn’t something I could master at the moment.
Panic took over instantly and my only thought was, If I push the wrong button, I will sink, drown and die! That wasn’t really true, but seemed rational enough at the time. I flailed my arms to the dive master, with wild eyes, and signaled to go up. She signaled confusion. Since I didn’t know SCUBA sign for “I’m freaking out,” I signaled with my thumb the strong desire to go back up. She took hold of my jacket and pumped it a few times until my buoyancy was stabilized, and slowly signaled with her hands for me to calm myself down. She waited about a minute and then with an extraordinary gesture of kindness, she held out her hand so we could dive together.
I completely expected that after reacting the way I did, she would escort me back to the surface, chastise my foolishness, and terminate my dive with a “Hmph!” Instead, she held my hand and gave me the security I needed until I could do it on my own. With only the sounds of bubbles and breath, we swam together as she pointed out the things she wanted me to see. Like the activity backstage of a play, I was amazed by the colors and creatures and coral alive with anemone, hidden by the curtain of water. . After we surfaced she told me that she just couldn’t let me leave the reef without experiencing it first. She didn’t know me, or owe me anything. But she stepped into my past to reclaim a lost picture of God- a God that wanted me to know and enjoy him without the fear of falling short- a God that didn’t cut me off for my mistakes but helped me overcome them in grace. God used that experience, among many others to replace the distorted ideas of who I thought He was.
Why did I think my dive master would be disappointed in me? Why did I care? Furthermore, why did I panic to the point of not thinking clearly? Why was I surprised by her outstretched hand? Why do people question God’s infinite love and care? Why do people doubt Him when He’s done nothing to earn their distrust?
Various misconceptions about God are closely linked to the god-figures in our lives: our parents, coaches, older siblings, bosses, teachers and pastors. We understand God based on what we already know. We formulate who the Heavenly Father is and who we are, because of our childhood experiences. Our authority figures while growing up leave the most influential mark of who we understand God to be. We were parented and groomed by imperfect people, and have automatic assumptions of an imperfect God.
We need a bold new approach to know Him.

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