Today, I am married with two children, and God is a greater part of my life than He has ever been before, yet still the past haunted me. My father was verbally and physically abusive, and for years I have asked the questions many people ask about how God could allow such things to happen. Sometimes I come across some truth that helps, but for many years I simply held God at a distance without ever even realizing it. God was God - powerful, almighty, and omnipotent - that was it.
Up until recently though, I never could latch onto my part in the relationship I had with God. I had a great head knowledge of who God is, I started my prayers with the words "Dear Heavenly Father" and could even talk about being a child of God without ever understanding the relationship I possessed.
The other day, while reading "When God Whispers Your Name", I came across these words: "You may get your looks from your mother, but you get eternity from your Father, your heavenly Father." The words "heavenly father" struck out at me, challenging me, and my attention focused on the next words. "By the way, he's not blind to your problems. In fact, God is willing to give you what your family didn't. Didn't have a good father? He'll be your Father." The book then quoted Galatians 4:7 "Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."
I am reminded by the prodigal son, who once he recognized he was not even worthy to be called a son any longer, came back home only desiring to be a servant in his father's house, only to have his father embrace him and reclaim him as a son. Then it dawned on me that for years now, I have been struggling with coming to God as a son, because of my own past.
My own father rejected me and rejected any attempts at reconciliation later in life. His refusal to be a father had spilled into my own perception as a child of God. I could serve God, but I could never seem to accept my relationship as a son of God. To that end, my life had been focused on serving God. Serve God in the choir, out on soul-winning, visitation, teaching a Sunday school class, in missions work, being an usher, working in the Children's ministry, oh I had the title of "servant of God" down pat. The problem is, that is where for so many years I had been taking my value.
As a worker in the secular world, you only have value to your employer if you produce. Stop producing on the job, and soon your boss will stop producing a paycheck. Your value is in your ability to serve the interests of your employer. However, in my family, my daughters' value is not tied up in what they do around the house. In fact, for the first few years of their life, productivity meant either cleaning vomit off of myself or changing a smelly diaper.
Because they are my children, they have value. Period. That's it. The only thing they need to do to realize that value is claim their title as my daughters, and accept my unconditional love. They do not need to earn my love. They are my daughters whether their performance is good or bad. I love them because of their relationship to me, not because they are productive or do well. In my mind, they will never lose value.
However, if they ever refuse to accept my unconditional love, because of some personal shame or guilt they feel, then in their own mind they would lose that value. Just like the prodigal son, their only recourse in their own mind may be to try to earn value once again by being a servant. This is where I found myself, and it was at this point I began to realize my value to God is not in being a servant, my value to God is in being a son.
If you have come to a point in your life where God does not feel so much like a heavenly Father anymore, maybe you need to take a step back and ask yourself, are you trying to be His servant or His son?