"God, Our Father"
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"God, Our Father"

For the Christian who never had a "dad"

"God, Our Father"

If there's one thing everyone in the planet has in common is that we have a father. Even stepfathers, fathers-in-law, we've all got one. Everyone's dad is different and we love them. In addition, for some people, their relationship with their dad is quite different. For some people, their dad may be all they have and for some their dad may be basically non-existent.

I fall into the latter category unfortunately. My relationship with my dad isn't great (at all, for that matter) and it never really has been. I suppose a few people may have grown up without their real dad around them and I'm like that. He's never lived up to the role, there's been no birthday cards or celebration of any special occasion, he is pretty much 100% absent.

Growing up, I often found it difficult. I was around my best friends (or my "siblings" as I call them) Ciara, Erin & Joe quite a lot, through childhood and now teenage years, and they have their amazing dad, Dale. I was often quite envious (I'll be completely honest) because they had a dad, and one that loved them. In fact, out of all the people I grew up with over my 18 years, I was the only one who had a single parent. Some of my friends' parents may have got divorced but they'd all remarried and even then my friends still had a good relationship with their dads and maybe saw him on weekends. I had none of that.

As I got older, I began to see my papa (my mum's dad) as my "father figure" in life. He helped raise me, he taught me so much and he stood by me in a way my dad never did, until he died when I was 16. I branded him as my father figure and after he was gone, I didn't know how I could move on. Here I was with only one parent again.

Moving on slightly, anyone who knows "my story" will know that I soon became a Christian after going through a slightly dark period and I welcomed God into my life. Over the last year I have worked my hardest to build that strong relationship with God and it is one that I could never have imagined. It makes me so happy to think of the goodness He has brought me and helped remove so much sorrow from life. However, of course, no one can live a truly happy life – there will always be moments throughout where there's stress and anger.

A few months ago, my dad suddenly came into my life for the first time, although not properly. I ended up in a legal battle with him over an issue I'm not going to speak out about yet. Now, I don't know what your opinion is, but my honest view is: "Suing your dad is something nobody should have to do". What frame of mind does any father figure have to think their kid would want to go through that? Anyone who has had to do it, I salute you and I will praise you because it's not easy! This situation obviously brought its own stresses and worries and re-opened up a lot of wounds I'd managed to heal. So, I done what I would do in any stressful situation, I began to pray.

I prayed God would relieve me of the anxiety I was feeling, I prayed He'd maybe give my dad a change in heart and that, no matter what the circumstances were, He would give me the courage to forgive my dad. Although I may have been annoyed or stressed, he's still my dad and I must forgive and show love to him – even though he may not have ever done that for me.

I told some people about the situation and they offered to pray which I gladly accepted. Ciara, Erin & Joe being the first; some of my friends Archie, Chloe & Leah also helped. However, one night, I was given a message by someone and it totally shifted my faith in a way I'd never seen before. My friend Sam was speaking to me about the situation and he obviously told me that if I needed someone to rant to or if I needed support, he was always there. Then he told me that although he didn't know much of the background, he did know that I "have a father that loves you more than anyone can love you. More than you can love yourself, and he thought you had so much worth that he died for you so don't ever doubt how much you matter". Those are Sam's exact words. Those words had such an impact, such a BIG impact.

It dawned on me how important God was, not just to me but all of us. After spending all that time singing worship songs and praying to "God the Father", it had never clicked in me that he was "THE Father", the penny just dropped! I do have a Father, a real one and it is God! We all do!

There is one verse I discovered not long after the situation sort of blew up at start of July. It remains one of my favourite verses in the Bible and one I always turn to every now and again. It says in 2 Corinthians 6:18: "And I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty". This verse from Paul's letter to the church in Corinth could possibly help sum up God's entire plan in one verse! After Adam and Eve sinned, we became separated from the Father's love, we were almost without a Father. Yet, thanks to Jesus, we don't have that worry anymore!

Jesus was the answer. He died so we could build our relationship with God, so we could have our Father. Thanks to Jesus, who bore so much pain and paid the ultimate sacrifice for us and our sins, we are now taken in by God and we can call him "Father"! Jesus was the one who came to unite us with God and he done exactly that. But there is more: God wants us to be "sons and daughters", He wants us to know our place as well as His.

If He is our Father, we are his sons and daughters and that is greatest privilege of all! If we choose to follow His son Jesus Christ, if we accept the Holy Spirit we will be God's sons and daughters. He loves us all no matter what but we, as Christians, get to rejoice every day in knowing that we are His children. This was God's plan for our lives.

Now, I may not have a dad but there is one thing I know about any parent. When we love our parents and we trust them, especially when you're younger, you want to be able to speak to them. I'm thankful that in my mum I've got that trust and love and I hope everyone has that closeness with their parents. However, it is the exact same with God. When we're worried about something or we need to open up about our lives, we need to remember God is our Father. When a parent is comforting their kid, they always lean in, maybe put an arm around you and say: "Hey, what's up? What's wrong?" And we tell them. That's what our relationship with God is meant to be! When we have stress and worries, God will maybe come calling and ask us: "What is wrong? Tell me". And we should tell him. Pray and cast your cares on Him and ask for help and advice, as you would your earthly Father.

For He is our Heavenly Father, and he is more powerful than any parent. And He loves us more than any earthly Father ever could! Our relationship with God is to be close and have full trust and love for Him, as we would our own parents. The difference is, we may be scared to tell our parents some things out of fear. In case they get mad, in case they get upset or worried; I'm sure every teenager has done something they'd hate to say to their parents in case they just got a response of: "What did you do that for?!".

Except with God we don't have that. God isn't going to judge us like that. If we've done something bad and we're worried about it, we need to confess it to God. If we tell Him what we've done wrong and that we're sorry, (if we're truly sorry!) He'll forgive us. He's not going to lash out, He won't go ballistic for 10 minutes and then say: "That's it I'm confiscating your phone and car keys, go to your room!". God will forgive us because He loves us. I can't state it enough, He loves us more than anything! I'm not saying our parents don't love us because they do but we are God's sons and daughters and He wants us to trust Him and build a relationship with Him.

So, all I can say is: God is our Father and he has an amazing love to pour all over us, His children.

Many of us have been let down or maybe don't have the best relationship with our earthly fathers and sometimes this can affect how some people see God. But we have to remove all negativity from our image of God for it is nothing like the image Jesus gives us of God. Jesus came to reveal God's word and love to us and God gave us Jesus so that we would not only learn from him but also so that we could form a close relationship through him, following his death on the cross.

In 1 John 3:1, it says: "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" God loves us all so much and he is our Heavenly Father no matter what happens in our lives. We have to remember that every day and for those of us who don't have the greatest paternal circumstances on Earth, remember that every day you have a Father who loves you dearly and one day you will join Him in Heaven and will be lavished with all his love forever.

I want to finish simply with one verse that summarises it all. From John 16:27, Jesus tells us: "The Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God".

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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