What Jesus told us to pray is incredible
Millions of dads around the world will be celebrated this Father’s Day, including myself for the first time. Becoming a dad has truly changed my life, because it wasn’t until I became a father that I began to realize what God’s grace is truly about. The story behind our daughter’s birth is interesting. We named her Avalon Grace. It was a name God gave to my wife in a dream. Tiana and I later found out that her name means ‘Heavenly Grace’. Amazing! Now, every time we look at our daughter we will forever be reminded of God’s grace.
We have been Christians nearly all our lives, but this thing about grace is something we’re still learning about. Grace, as I realize, relates closely to our relationship with God as a father. And it’s often here that so many of us miss this life-changing truth. Sure, we know in our heads that God is our Father, but do we truly believe it in our hearts?
For Tiana, seeing God as her father was a hard thing for her to grasp. Days before Avalon’s birth, Tiana told me that of all the possible due dates, she hoped that our baby would not be born on March 23 because that was her stepfather’s birthday. Her stepfather basically ruined her childhood, and even though she has forgiven him she didn’t want to be reminded of him – especially on such an important event. Ironically, that was the day Avalon arrived. During early labor, I felt God wanted me to tell Tiana that He chose that date to heal her. A date that used to be a painful reminder of her past, would now become a joyful celebration of God’s redemptive power. March 23 will now be a day of sweet revenge: God taking back every single day the enemy has stolen from Tiana’s childhood.
WOUNDS FROM THE PAST
The wounds from Tiana’s past almost ruined the most beautiful day in her life, had she allowed it. Wounds from our past can sabotage our future. The apostle, Paul, in Romans 8:38-39 says: For I am convinced that…neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Notice, Paul didn’t mention the past, because if there’s one thing that can separate us from God’s love – it’s the past.
After working on the Conquer Series for over two years, I discovered that the vast majority of men struggling with porn addiction have a deep father wound. These father wounds can be the very filter that distorts our view of God as our Father. According to Paul Cole, president of Christian Men’s Network: “When Jesus says pray: ‘our Father who art in Heaven’, it really is one of the most beautiful phrases, but for most people it’s like a broken jagged, piece of glass. It doesn’t connect. So God wants to heal the father wounds in the men’s and women’s hearts, because that’s what causes us so often to make wrong decisions in life.”
This morning I felt the Holy Spirit teach me something about the Lord’s Prayer. Before Jesus introduced God as ‘Abba’, the Israelites referred to Him as Yaweh, Jehovah, Elohim, which presented different aspects of God’s charcter. But when Jesus introduced God to them as ‘Abba‘ – Daddy God – I’m sure they had a hard time comprehending this concept because the picture they had of God represented the Law. However, Jesus was introducing them to a new covenant with God – a covenant of sonship that brings us right into the mercy seat of God, where no ordinary person was allowed before. When we truly see God as our Father, we come into a grace relationship with Him and that has the power to transform, heal and propel us to lead the life He has called us to live.
GRIPPED BY GRACE
I’ve realized I can’t give what I don’t have. As Dr. Ted Roberts once said: you can’t love beyond the view you have of yourself. If we are to be fathers who will leave a legacy of love to our kids, we need to first be gripped by God’s grace. As Paul Cole said: ”When a man finds that strength of a father that holds him, he finds his strength as a man and his center. Most men, in not having that, don’t have a center. It’s their default that they come back to and say, ‘This is who I am’. So, their ‘who I am’ becomes ‘what I do’. Rather than ‘I am who I am because of who He is’.”
In a video that has gone viral – again, we see Heather Dorniden trip and land on her face during a 600-meter race. Instead of giving up, amazingly the young woman gets back on her feet and begins sprinting around the track, rapidly gaining speed and wins. It’s easy to walk through life with a limp in our soul, but that’s not how God wants us to live. He wants us to be freed from the wounds of our past, so we can sprint forward and run this race called life and finish well.
Recently Tiana told me: ”You know, when I confronted my stepfather I said two words: ‘Why daddy?’. Those two words bore so much pain, shame and anger. Today, when I ask God the same question: ‘Why daddy?’, those two words are now filled with awe and deep gratitude. Why Daddy? Why did you send Your Son to die for me? Why do you love me so unconditionally?” Our finite mind can’t fully grasp God’s grace, but when I look at my daughter sleeping soundly in my arms, I’m sure I’ve gotten a glimpse of it.
This Father’s Day, gift the fathers you know with the Conquer Series.