Sunlight radiated through my office window, but I barely noticed. My eyes stared at the computer monitor but saw nothing, the weight of my soul pulling my attention away from emails and to-do lists. Emotionally and spiritually, I was exhausted.
Why Do I Have a Disconnect in My Faith?
For months, I’d felt like God was a million miles away. Prayers met with silence. I knew God heard me. His Word said so. I knew He could intervene, so why did it seem like He didn’t want to? I felt like He was a distant dad who’d handed me an instruction manual to life and then disappeared, leaving me to figure out the details.
My phone vibrated me back to reality with a notification from a dear friend who’d been encouraging me through this “dark night of the soul.” I opened the app to hear her sweet Southern accent shed some light into my darkness.
“Oh sweet friend,” she started. “Your Heavenly Father loves you more than you can imagine. He isn’t the kind of father who abandons his children to figure out life on their own, and you’re His beloved daughter. That’s like saying my husband, who adores our girls, would provide what they needed for a trip, take them to the airport, and drop them off at the curb to make the journey alone:
‘But Dad, I don’t know where to go.’
‘Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out. There will be signs. You know how to read.’
‘But Dad, what if I get lost?’
‘You’ll be fine, I gave you a map.’
‘But Dad, I’m scared.’
‘You don’t need to be scared. You got this.’
Torrie, that’s not how God works…and you know it.”
Sometimes you need a strong sister who’s willing to tell you what you need to hear in grace without sugarcoating the truth. She was right on all accounts. I did know better. Jesus has been a part of my story for as long as I can remember. Currently, I work at a church; and her words echoed similar encouragement I’ve offered to those sitting in my office sharing their own struggles. So why couldn’t my soul trust what my head knew to be true?
How Do I Trust My Heavenly Father?
I listened to her message again and in the repetition, I heard it. “That’s like saying my husband who adores our girls would…” Suddenly, my disconnect became obvious. My dad left before I was born. I didn’t grow up with an earthly father who protected me, provided for me, loved me, and walked through life with me.
At that moment, I recognized I knew a lot about God’s love, believed it all to be true for others, but I’d never been able to fully trust Him myself because I’d compared Him to my dad. Somewhere along the way, I started attributing earthly characteristics like abandonment and disappointment to God because it’s all I knew of how a father treats their daughter, no matter how much they say they love them.
When you grow up without an earthly father, it can be difficult to trust in a Heavenly Father. I equated my dad’s shortcomings to God. Being rejected, abandoned, and disappointed cuts deep. I never wanted to give God the opportunity to make me feel the way my biological dad had, so I learned to keep Him at arms length. And although the relationship between my dad and me got better over the years, the lingering residue remained in my mind and on my heart.
As I sat at my desk that afternoon, I understood. God wasn’t a million miles away. I was. I’d allowed the lack of trust I had with my earthly father to impact my relationship with my Heavenly Father. God didn’t want that for us, and neither did I. With tears streaming down my cheeks, I honestly confessed my fears and asked Him to help me learn to trust Him. It was time for me to embrace that God’s love also applied to me and I could trust Him completely.
Friend, God isn’t an absentee dad. He doesn’t occasionally stop by with a present for you to assemble on your own while He quietly slips out the backdoor. He doesn’t expect us to blindly maneuver through life under the impression that He is distant and detached from our daily lives.
Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV) reminds us, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Friend, that’s good news! That’s a word to hold onto when our hearts are troubled and He feels far away.
Earthly parents may abandon and disappoint us. They may even break our hearts. But our Heavenly Father, Abba, which means “Daddy,” will never leave you. He will never abandon you. He will never expect you to figure things out alone. He is always by your side. And He is trustworthy because His promises never fail. Even when you can’t feel Him near, He is there preparing the way, guiding your steps, and providing comfort, protection, and peace.
Friend, will you step out in faith today, trusting that your Abba Father truly loves you as much as His word says He does? Be honest about your fears. Invite Him to heal the wounded pieces of your heart. You don’t need to keep your Father at arm’s length anymore. It’s time to run into His loving embrace because the love, grace, and forgiveness He lavishes on others is for you too.
If you’re struggling to see God in your life, take a listen to this podcast episode: Who Is God Really? with Christian Bevere – 169