Continued from here.
Another area in my life that made me a miserable Christian for decades was knowing a lot about God without knowing God. This was an issue for me for decades. I read the Bible cover-to-cover twice. I was active in Bible studies regularly. I prayed every day, which consisted of me telling God all the things I needed Him to change in my life for me to be happy. From the outside, I seemed like a very strong Christian because I knew a lot ABOUT God. However, I did not know Him.
One of my seminary textbooks used this analogy. Imagine a foster child who has grown up without a father who decides to write a dissertation on fatherhood. He can interview multiple fathers, read books and peer-reviewed articles about fathers, and even follow a father around for a month to learn all he needs to know to write his dissertation. However, he will never reach the level of understanding about a father as a five-year-old boy who has grown up with a father who loves him. You can do all sorts of research about a person, but to actually know the person, you must engage in a relationship with Him … and that’s what was missing for me for decades.
How does a little boy know who his father is? It comes from spending time with him as the relationship grows. A boy learns through experience what a father is and that he can trust his father to take care of him. Each time his father acts as his son’s protector, the boy learns that a father is a protector, and he trusts that he is safe as long as his father is around. The son rests securely in knowing that his father will meet his needs as his father provides him with food, clothing, and shelter. Fear of being without is not even on the son’s radar because he has learned through experience that his father will care for his needs. This doesn’t mean the boy has never had a meal served late. Even when he must wait to be fed, he knows nourishment is coming because he knows and trusts that his father will provide for him.
To be continued…
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace standing on an anchor, wrapped in a banner that says, “Dad.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]