The Most Radical Concept in the Universe

Which is harder to endure – experiencing pain or watching your child experience pain?

Every parent knows the answer to this question.

This generation has grown up with “Father” God. We take the title for granted. We debate the gender of it. Some reject it; refuse to refer to Him as Father, as though that were progress. And yet, there was a time on this earth (and in fact, there still are places on earth) when relating to one’s god as Father was the ultimate in insult and absurdity.

For people groups throughout history, gods were to be worshipped, appeased, petitioned, revered, esteemed, served, sacrificed to, suffered for and housed. These were the gods created by human imagination.

They were wish granters and luck givers, the withholders and bestowers of prosperity. Controllers of destiny fashioned of wood and gold and human thought. These gods were demanding, fickle, easily-angered and they could be bought. They lived in rivers, constellations, mountains, volcanoes, frogs, cats, trees, sun and moon. Their interest in humans was incidental, certainly not personal nor relational. They were distant, untouchable, unknowable and silent.

But, the God of the universe, who spoke life into being, who initiates communication and will not be silent; this God introduced Himself as Father God – Abba. He was not being “patriarchal”; He was being relational, intimately relational, and speaking volumes about Himself with a word.

Father.

Our very concept of what a father is comes from His imagination. After He fashioned Adam from dust and Eve from Adam’s rib, He invented the process whereby more humans would enter the world. Pretty exciting concept if you ask me and much more fun than spores or cloning, right? He created fathers and referred to Himself as Our Father.

He broke all the rules we’d created with our limited thinking about gods and established a new type of relationship with those who worship Him. He is Our Father and we are His children.

This was radical, unthinkable, nearly blasphemous for those who followed traditional gods to understand. A God who loves with a Father’s love? A God who takes a personal interest in individual humans? A God who did not demand suffering but, instead, suffered on behalf of those who worship Him?

And when I read of all that Jesus suffered in His last days – betrayal, false testimonies, trials, beatings, mocking, abandonment, humiliation, injury, pain, agony, death – and then I think of His Father witnessing this suffering, enduring the torture of His child without stopping it, without lashing out, without destroying in the moment all who caused it – it speaks to me of a power and self-control beyond imagining.

And to think that the Father and the Son endured all this because I needed to be saved, because I would choose sin over righteousness, because they loved me and wanted to make a way for me to be included in their love – well, I cannot even take it in.

When my children suffer, I would end it in a heartbeat whenever I could. I wouldn’t allow them to suffer to save someone we know, never mind, someone who hated us or who had caused us harm. But God is not like me nor is He like any God I would imagine – He transcends.

Because I know what it is like to endure my children’s suffering, I know that Father God feels the pain of His children – all of His children – when they face suffering of any kind.

He feels the pain of the man who searches for his child in the rubble of a school after an earthquake. He feels the pain of a little boy who is being abused by someone he’s been told to trust and to obey. He feels the pain of a woman locked in a room and fed through a slot in the door because she betrayed her family by choosing to follow the Christian God. He feels the pain of countless hearts and feels it as only a father who loves His children can.

This is no golden idol propped on an altar receiving flowers and coins and wishes and requests. This is no lightning bolt wielding superpower thundering from atop Olympus. This is no distant guru removed from all desire and emotion contemplating grasshoppers. This is no pouting desert cave dweller offering paradise to those will kill in His name.

This is Abba, Father God, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.“(Exodus 34:6-7)

The guilty will have to answer to Him.

Those who beat him, mocked him, cried out “Crucify” and hammered in the nails, they will answer to Him. So will those who locked the woman into isolation for loving Him. So will the men in power who abused the children under their care. So will the many that stood by and herded His children into the crematoriums or slave ships. So will those who harden their hearts and refuse to send aid to the father holding a dead child amidst the rubble of earthquake.

They will have to answer to an angry Father who has watched them make His children suffer and those who have done it in His name will suffer the worst.

From the beginning, it has been written, that He will demand an accounting for each of us. “And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.” Genesis 9:5

He is our Father God. He is a God who loves us with a father’s love. Don’t reject that about Him as archaic and passé. That is the most radical concept in the universe.

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7 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Andrea says:

    AMEN!!
    Blessings and prayers, andrea

  2. What a beautiful post, Lori. I’m all bleary eyed today. We’re in the midst of our yearly Festival of Prayer and God is rocking my world this week. This post only confirms all that Christ has been speaking to me. Thank you, friend.

  3. Hearing God’s voice is a beautiful thing, my friend. Let Him have it all.

  4. Dawn Clark Wright says:

    You are a really wonderful writer Lori. I’m happy to have come across your blog. God bless.
    Dawn

  5. Thanks, Dawn, that’s really kind of you to say! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll come again.

  6. Cheri says:

    Amen! Good post!

    Hugs,
    Cheri