A Father’s House, A Father’s Heart

(John 14) “Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you.  If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.”

(1 John 3) Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are!

When Jesus spoke the words in John’s Gospel, one thing I have found to be quite misunderstood about this verse: Jesus was NOT talking about going back to Father after our deaths; He was talking about after His resurrection and BEFORE His Ascension.  He was talking about right now, for anyone who is in an ever-deepening relationship with Him that we can have a place in Father’s house, and thereby heart, heart NOW (for Home is where the Heart is, eh?).

And how great is God’s love for us that we are called his children and to offer us His very Self?  In this Truth, regardless of our external circumstances, we are blessed beyond compare.

But if you are like me, this is one of the hardest parts of my walk with God: trusting Him at His word.  I am told by Jesus that I can call God “Abba” which is about as intimate a word for Father that could ever be spoken.  I have written elsewhere in this Blog that Abba is more like “Daddy” than the ever-aloof word “Father.”

And I know many a Jesus follower who cannot bring themselves to even say Father, much less Daddy.  They feel it is too profane, or unholy or too demeaning to the grandeur of God.  And I get it.  I have a hard, if not impossible time, calling God Daddy, but I am comfortable these days calling God Abba (since Aramaic and Hebrew are not my natives tongues and since Jesus said so).

But I know all too well how hard it is to call God Father and I know why: my earthly father was a raging drunk whose own father was an alcoholic as well.  My father would take me to the movies when I was 8 or 9 and he would sit in the car and get shit-faced drunk and forget to come into the movie theater and sometimes he’d forget to even pick me up.  And the theater was miles away from my home and along major roads (Interstate 81 as well as 5 lane thoroughfares).  So when I am told by Jesus that at Baptism and through the lifelong Journey of conversion that God becomes my Father and I become His child, well, quite honestly, I simply cringe  with fear.

The questions scream like Monkey mind: is God going to abandon me?  Is God going to forget about me or beat me and scream at me or treat me as if I am invisible?  Will God not be able to provide basic necessities like food, clothing and housing…much less healing and direction and intimacy?  And do I even want intimacy with this Almighty God who is now called Abba?!?

But deep within me the answer comes, “YES!”   Yes, I do want intimacy with this God of all Comfort…with this God who is infinitely and eternally filled with and offering loving-kindness, mercy, compassion, forgiveness and love.  Yes, I want to be near this Abba who will never forsake me, abandon me or leave me…who will NEVER stop loving me!

I answer soundly, with fear and trepidation echoing in the back of my mind, that I do want fierce closeness to this God who is Pure Love…a Father who is incarnate in Jesus, a Father who will not nor cannot love me any more or less than he already does.

In Jesus  (who said if we have seen Him we have seen the Father), we are given a new Father who gathers his children tenderly like a hen gathers her chicks, like a mother holds her precious newborn baby.

In this Father’s house, we are shown this Father’s Heart: a safe womb of compassion waiting to show and shower upon us all the Grace that God can give…and the door is unlocked, so come on in and come on Home!

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