The older I get, the more I realize how unique I am. And one of the unique things about me – that I didn’t realize was unique until the past few years – is that I have always believed in God. Or at least, as long as I can remember. Perhaps it was because I was raised in church. Whatever the reason, I’m grateful. And that becomes more apparent to me as my circle of friends grows wider and I meet more people who don’t believe in God. Or they don’t believe that God is involved in their lives today. Or they feel that God is capricious and not trustworthy.
But while I have always believed in God, I haven’t always known exactly who He is in relation to me. And I haven’t always known who I am in relation to Him. I’ve heard it said from a number of different sources over the years that our ideas about God and our relationship to Him are formed based off of our earthly fathers and our relationships with them. And while I’ve been blessed for thirty-six years to have a father who loves me, I haven’t always known or felt or understood that love. (That’s what happens when life spends years beating you up and twisting your mind.) And just like I believed that I had to earn my Dad’s love and approval, I’ve also always believed I had to earn God’s approval. And how can a wounded kid who is, at best, used goods, hope to accomplish that?
Francis Chan says, “Many of us would say that we are children of God, but are these empty words for you? Can you say with confidence – from the depth of your being – that you know God and are known by Him?”
I’m working on that.
On Sunday, I found myself in what’s becoming a familiar position – holding and comforting a crying creature. Sometimes, the crying one I’m holding is one of my peers – a friend who is going through a difficult situation. And sometimes, the crying one I’m holding is a baby – several of my friends’ babies have found my arms a safe, soft, warm, and inviting place to sleep. But on Sunday, the one I was comforting was an abused and traumatized dog. And when she was approached by what she perceived as a threat, she fled into my arms shaking, whimpering, and crying. But soon found the comfort and peace there that she needed to curl up and fall asleep with her chin on my shoulder. For a moment, I laughed about it, but then I heard the voice of God whispering to my heart that the reason I’m able to comfort is because I carry His DNA. And suddenly, puzzle pieces fell together, and I knew with crystal clarity who I am and whose I am. I belong and I have a purpose.
How would you answer Chan’s question? Do you know that you’re a child of God? Is that real to you? Can you say with confidence that you know God and are known by Him?
For me, the answer is that I’m learning how to be the child of God that He’s always called me to be.
How about you?
This post is part of a weekly book discussion on Francis Chan’s book, “Forgotten God.” Feel free to share your thoughts whether you’ve been reading the book or not. Your feelings are valid here! If you did write a response to this chapter, please link it up at the widget below and then go visit my co-facilitator, Jason, to hear what he has to say.