For much of my life, in my eyes, God was a perfect reflection of my father. Absent. Now, I’m not going to go into the whole, absent/bad father conversation. That can’t fit into this post. But it wasn’t until I saw who He really was, that I could believe in who they say He is.
A little background first…
My birth father disappeared from my life somewhere around my third or fourth birthday. So with that, I incurred all of the things little boys feel when their fathers aren’t around. I was confused, couldn’t find my identity, felt unloved, felt like it was my fault, all of it. A few years later, I acquired a step-father. Unfortunately for me, he was abusive; physically, emotionally, and verbally. I received regular beatings, was always informed of how dumb and unworthy I was, and was never given any form of love from him.
Then I met Jesus and He introduced me to my “original” father, my Father in heaven. Now in Christianity we’re often taught, “believing is seeing”. Certainly, in the realms of faith that is true. As followers of Christ, we must believe before we see the manifestation of that which we are believing for. However, I believe there is a greater truth. That truth is, seeing ACTUALLY is believing.
Now, I’m not trying to go against long-standing popular theology. Just walk with me for a moment. Yes, we must believe in faith, before we can see the manifestation. But how do we even get to the place where we have faith? How do we arrive at a place where we can even walk in faith? It is all a result of what we see, or more appropriately “who” we see. We know faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Well, who is the word of God? Jesus is. So, I ask the question. Who do we looking at to acquire faith?
Consider the short story I told above about my father(s). As I was growing up, even after I became a grown man, those men were my image of what a father is. In my mind a father was absent, a father was abusive, a father was hurtful, a father was etc., etc. Then when I came to try to know God, I had a problem. No matter how He tried to be my father, and no matter how much I tried to embrace Him as my Father, I couldn’t do it. Why? Because, I already knew what a father was (at least I thought I did) and it was nothing pretty. In my mind fathers did nothing but create hurt, pain, problems, and fear. And when the Lord walked into my life, I treated Him just like He was one of them. Honestly at that time…
It was how I saw God. I didn’t see Him well. Add to the images I held of a father, life trials and troubles that we all have, and it was a recipe for tragedy.
It was how I saw God that made all the difference in my life (or lack of difference at that time). How I saw Him affected how I believed in Him. I struggled for years trying to trust Christ. But I couldn’t as long as I saw Him as an image of my other fathers.
Of course, there was a lot that happened in the midst of all of this. There were lots of tears, lots of revelation, lots of prayer. But when I was finally able to release Christ from the imprint I allowed myself to put on Him because of my experiences with my earthly fathers, THAT’S WHEN I BELIEVED!!!
It wasn’t until I saw Christ for who He really really is, loving, caring, good, powerful, strong, forgiving, kind, just, faithful, wise… It wasn’t until I could see Him, the real Him, that I could then truly believe in Him. And not only believe IN Him, but BELIEVE Him. It was then, when I finally saw Him, when I finally saw who He was, not just what He was, then I could believe what He said, believe His Word, truly believe this leading of His Holy Spirit.
We might be saved, but we’re saved by grace. And if you’ve been saved for any length of time, you know that being saved, and believing in Christ are two different things. They are as different as believing that Christ exists, and believing in Him for our personal lives, as different as believing in Him for our personal lives and trusting Him with every situation in those lives.
Situations are different for everyone. In fact, you may feel this particular post does not even apply to you. But, all of these words are here simply to say. Seeing is believing. When you see Jesus as He really is, not as you’ve made Him to be because of your past, not as other people have told you He is, not even as you’ve hoped He would be, but as He really is (your eternal Father who loves you more than you could ever conceive) then you will believe.
Now understand, when I say you “will” believe, I don’t mean you’ll automatically believe. I don’t mean that a light switch will flip and everything will be great from then on. What I mean is, your will, your desire, your choice will be to believe. You will choose to believe, no matter what it looks like, no matter what they say, no matter how bad it gets…
No matter, you will believe.
So, go find Him. Seek after Him. Seek His face. Seek His heart. Seek His will. Seek to see who God really is to you in your life. For me, when I came to this realization, I had to ask God to show Himself to me. Not in some miraculous manifestation that would put an end to my problems, but in a more personal way. In the same way a dear friend shares their heart. That’s how I asked Him to show Himself to me. He is still changing my life.
So, ask Him to let you see Him. Ask Him to show you his nail pierced hands. When you do, you will believe. He has no problem proving Himself to you. Because seeing is believing.