38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. 40 I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. 41 I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul. – Jeremiah 32:38-41
PETE HAS A pretty skewed picture of God. Why? Because Pete’s dad is a top executive with a Fortune 500 company. He travels a lot and doesn’t spend much time with his family. Pete thinks God is like his dad: distant and unreachable.
Melissa has a pretty skewed picture of God, too. Her dad is an alcoholic, whose violent rages make the family run for cover whenever he starts drinking. Melissa thinks God is like her dad: angry and unloving.
Lisha’s picture of God is skewed for different reasons. Her dad buys her everything from the latest compact discs to the trendiest clothes. Lisha thinks God is like her dad: someone who’ll give her whatever she asks for.
Erick’s picture of God is also skewed. He never even knew his father. His parents weren’t married when he was born. His father never wanted anything to do with his son. Erick thinks God also has abandoned him.
What Pete, Melissa, Lisha, and Erick are doing is pretty common. They’re basing their ideas about God on what their earthly fathers are like. A lot of people do that. But such pictures of God are often pretty messed up.
No matter what Pete’s dad does, God promises to be with us always (Hebrews 13:5). No matter how Melissa’s dad acts, our heavenly Father loves us tenderly and unconditionally (Isaiah 54:10). No matter what Lisha’s earthly dad may do, her heavenly Father may not always give her everything she wants, but he will give her what’s good for her (Jeremiah 32:40). And even though Erick doesn’t have a father in his life, God promises to be a “father to the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5).
Your relationship with your earthly father may be good, or it may be poor. Your relationship with your dad may be stable, or it may change from time to time. And it may be hard to separate your image of your heavenly Father from your experience with your earthly father. But no matter how good or bad your relationship with your parents may be, remember that your heavenly Father only wants to do good to you. And he will-if you let him.
REFLECT: Has God ever done something good for you through something that you thought was bad or negative? Does God always reveal how he plans to work things out? Do you trust him to do what’s best for you? Do you trust him enough to obey him, no matter what the immediate results might be?
PRAY: “Lord, I know you don’t give me everything I ask for, but help me to trust you to give me everything that’s good for me.”
– Josh McDowell
Today’s Youth Devotional