If we experience Jesus as vindictive, distant, capricious, unconcerned, punishing, or the architect behind our pain and suffering, we will struggle to form a trusting relationship with him. To reframe diseased or distorted images, we must test our ideas and feelings against the God revealed in Scripture. Understanding how he really feels about us is necessary to forming a transforming friendship.
Jesus tells the story of a father and two sons. The younger one bursts out, “I wish you were dead!” The father gives his son an early inheritance which he wastes on “wild living.” Near death and out of options, the son returns home. According to custom and culture, the crowd expects a public stoning.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him.” The father carefully watches the brown hillside for months or years, hoping the next black dot shuffling down the trail might be his son.
“. . . he ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him.” In Middle Eastern culture, a gentleman running in public is considered shameful and humiliating. The father doesn’t care that he comes off looking like a fool. His love is not rational.
“Quick! Bring the best robe. . . put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. . .bring the fattened calf. . . let’s have a feast and celebrate.” Punishment? No, the father throws a party. He wildly celebrates the one who has come home.
Jesus tells this story to illustrate how God feels about. . . us.
What is your biggest challenge in believing that God feels this way about you?