This post first appeared as my regular contribution to the More than Writers blog of the Association of Christian Writers on Sunday 16th August 2015
One thing I have learned over the last few years, above all else, has transformed my life. It was one of the final things on my journey to freedom from food addiction and it helped me deal with the pain of unwanted long term singleness. This life changing teaching is discovering the Father Heart of God. For most of my Christian life I have identified closely with Jesus. He is my Saviour, my Friend, and my Lord. He died to save me and I am eternally grateful. However, I used to spend more time thanking Jesus for forgiving my sin than enjoying the outcome of my salvation. What do I mean by that? Is there is a difference you may ask?
When I was training with Church Army, one assignment I had was to read the whole gospel of Mark in one sitting. It was an amazing experience, which took about two hours or so. I read about a man, Jesus, who had two main passions in his life: his love for people and his love for his Father in Heaven. His greatest desire was to bring the two together. He wanted them to know each other and love each other.
I knew Jesus but I didn't really know the love of the Father. I started reading around the subject of God’s Father Heart. With each book I read the Holy Spirit spoke clearer to me that what I really needed was the love of Father God. The final book I read in this part of my search was ‘I am your Father’ by Mark Stibbe. It really spoke powerfully to me. In it Stibbe talks about some of us having an orphan heart. As I read his description of an orphan heart I knew this was the state of my own heart. This was the emptiness I had been trying to fill with food. I started to pray that God would reveal his Father love to me. It was a prayer that my Papa God answered quickly.
One thing that really helped me to discover the Father Heart of God was listening to ‘The Father’s Love Letter’. This is a letter written by Barry Adams based on truth from Scripture. Each line in this letter is taken from the Bible. I found it profoundly moving. I still do. You can read it or watch it here. It can be downloaded for free as a document, a video or audio file. A few years ago I played it frequently, sometimes on a loop for 30 minutes or more. On different days different phrases would touch me and reduce me to tears, but the truth of it began to sink into my heart.
Jesus died to bring us to the Father, so we could experience his Father’s love for us. The ltter ends with these words “I have always been Father, and will always be Father. My question is…Will you be my child?” He is already our Father but will we be His child?