The Brokenness of Fatherhood
Today I was spending some time talking with the Lord and as is characteristic of Him, He threw me a bit of a curve ball.
He started by asking me how I was doing. I gave a shrug, said ok, and then asked how He was doing. For some reason I don’t ask Him how He is doing very often, but He was quick to respond. He didn’t hesitate in opening up His heart, nor act like His feelings weren’t important and put the attention back on me as some people do when they don’t want to be vulnerable.
He said that He was completely brokenhearted. God is a happy God, so this response took me by surprise. Suddenly in that moment that I could holistically see and feel the culmination of the atrocities taking place in the world. I am sure I only felt a small fraction of what He feels, but nonetheless it was overwhelming. Babies being killed by ISIS, abortions, starvations, diseases, etc. The list goes on and on.
Now I have to say… I am the kind of guy that has learned not to primarily put my focus on what the enemy is accomplishing in the earth, but put my focus on what Jesus accomplished 2,000 years ago on the cross. Yet, for this one moment I needed to see things from His perspective. He is a Father. He is a Father of every soul in the earth, whether they profess Him as their King or not. He loves each one of His children to such an infinite degree that all the love that humans have experienced for all of time would not even come close to how God feels towards just one of His children.
I’m a father. And though I only have three children instead of 7 billion, nonetheless when my children hurt one another it breaks my heart in a way I cannot put into words. I feel disappointment, sadness, and sometimes I even start to blame myself. And I feel this way when my kids are just childishly fighting! God’s kids are killing each other, starving each other, and cursing each other! How much more does He feel what I feel when I father my children.
It is from the place of fatherhood that this bleeding of the Heart is derived from for God when He looks at the earth. He sees His many children dying, being killed, attacking one another, not having enough food, and He feels it. Oh, He feels it.
I felt it for just one moment. Then He cascaded into my thinking with this reality:
“This is an aspect of how I feel all the time. In light of that, how concerned do you think I am with the petty things people do that they beat themselves up over?”
What He was getting at was the condemnation that most people walk in throughout their lives. We beat ourselves up over the many areas of our lives that could be better. Character issues, physical issues, the thoughts that’s go through our minds…all of these areas can use work. We are more than aware of that. Yet all throughout our lives we are haunted by the need to get our act together and be someone different than who we are right now.
That is, until we actually touch the love of God. When we touch the love and grace of God, we don’t excuse our many shortcomings but we finally let someone love us amidst our shortcomings. We finally give up on trying to do it all ourselves and in glorious surrender throw up our arms and say, “I am your creation. I am YOUR problem, not mine. Despite all the problems that stand out to me, You call me beautiful. You love me how I am and I am going to agree with You instead of argue with You. I am going to cut myself some slack because You do. You say that I am perfect, without flaw, and I want to see myself the way You do, despite my stumblings and shortcomings.”
The longer I walk with Jesus the more I realize that He just wants us to be us. He doesn’t want to change us, He wants to love us. He is confident that any changes that need to be made will be made as we allow Him to love us right where we are at. I am not excusing sin, and He isn’t either. Instead, He is inviting us to receive His unconditional love in the midst of our weaknesses.
He isn’t as concerned with your many shortcomings and places that are in need of improvement as you think He is. He has bigger things to worry about. He isn’t a micro-managing God. What if we stopped navel-gazing, stopped trying to fix ourselves rather than fall into the reality of the Cross, and stopped giving ourselves arbitrary standards that must be met before we can be any kind of solution to the actual problems in the world? People all throughout the church are waiting to become more holy before they can be used by God, when the reality is that they are already holy and already ready to start changing the world. They just need to believe that they are.
If the gospel is mitigated down to something that can be basically read in a self-help book, then it isn’t the Gospel. We have been saved. We have been made righteous. We have been made totally holy. When our Christianity becomes something most typified by the pursuit to become something or someone else, we have missed the whole point of the Gospel. The gloriousness of the Gospel is that who you are RIGHT NOW is who God loves. Just receive it.
So once and awhile I am going to let His broken heart give me bearings as to what is important. I am going to let His broken heart remind me that the things I condemn myself over aren’t really that impressive to Him in light of the atrocities that go on in the world. I am going to let His broken heart become my own, and I am going to live a life that can help mend this world and in turn, mend His.
“Because a heart that is broken is a heart that is open.” -Bono