Location: New England, United States

Monday, July 25, 2005

A Distant Lord or a Loving Father?

Several years ago, my father was elected the National President of a large professional association. His "swearing in" ceremony was to be held in Chicago, and his eight grown children traveled from many different cities to be with him during this important event. The ceremony lasted three days, including cocktail parties, dinners, photo sessions for publication in their national magazine and other events where my father and his family were expected to make appearances.

Friends, associates, employees and colleagues exhibited respect; even reverence to my father during those three heady days, and we were all overwhelmed, even exhausted, by the constant attention. After the events, our family would often retire to my father and mother's hotel room to decompress. There, my father would cease to be the National President; he was just my Dad. We would joke with him, play tricks on him and playfully chide him. There was no fear or awe in the room - just intimacy.

This dichotomy is also evident with our Heavenly Father, especially when you compare the differences between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Why did God have an informal intimacy with some of the biblical characters and yet, a formal, lordly relationship with others? This difference is buried in the structure of the relationship.

We are all God's creation. We all belong to him under this relationship, but we are not all his children. Even among his children, there are different relationships. Abraham's formality when speaking to God (Genesis 18:27) is in sharp contrast to the informality expressed by David (1Samuel 23:4).

God's children are those who have accepted his Son, Jesus, as their Lord and Savior. When we have made this decision, we are no longer just God's creations; we are now God's children. As our intimacy with God increases (by spending time with him in study and prayer), our relationship with God becomes less formal, and he becomes more intimate with us.


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