“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.”
~ Romans 8:15-16
Have you ever had one of those conversations with someone where you walk away from it a better person than when it began? I was blessed to attend the Brandon Heath and Third Day concert last weekend. As usual with me, I arrived very early, and decided to wait in the theater lobby for my friend to arrive.
When I went to sit down on one of the sofas, I saw that a fellow church member was sitting on the occupied side. I don’t know Paul very well but we serve together at our church food pantry.
We began a casual conversation and I immediately noticed that he mentioned his Dad several times. After a few minutes, I realized that he was talking about God and I was seriously blown away!
He spoke of his Heavenly Father, his Dad, with such respect and admiration and I was just in awe of the tone of familiarity that infiltrated his words. It was apparent that Paul has an intimate relationship with the Creator and I can only imagine how honored God was to hear one of his children speak of Him with such love.
I grew up in a religious household, but my relationship with God was one built on fear. I can’t tell you how many times I thought God was mad at me, or worse yet, that He was going to abandon me because I wasn’t perfect. Church was ritualistic and almost unwelcoming at times and I believe it left me with a skewed perception of God.
My understanding of God and church has drastically changed since that time and my relationship with Him is now built on mutual love. I no longer see him as an angry Judge just waiting for me to mess up.
And although I know that He is a loving and merciful God, I walked away from my conversation with Paul, with an entirely new perspective on His role in my life.
As a parent, it would honor me greatly to hear my son, Eric, speak of me with the respect and admiration that resonated in Paul’s words. It brings me great joy when Eric is happy and breaks my heart when he is struggling. I want to give him everything he needs in life, including correction when it is needed. Aside from God Himself, there is no other that I love more than my son.
These are all of the same things that God wants for us and so much more than we can even imagine! Seeing God as my “parent”…my Heavenly Dad…takes all of the attributes I know of Him…love, mercy, grace, compassion…and brings them to life for me.
I’m sure God was deeply honored to have 1,500 of his children gathered together at the concert to worship Him and sing His praises. Yet, somehow, I suspect that the heartfelt, authentic words from Paul melted his Dad’s heart, in a way that only a child can.