And I marvel at how much healing Papa has brought to me over the past many months so that I am able to love again, laugh again, trust again, live again! I am filled with joy, and I cannot thank God enough for bringing me to this season in my journey.
What has stood out the most to me all along my journey with God, and especially over the past couple of years, has been God's gentleness as He shaped me even while healing me. I sometimes hear people describe God's words to them as sounding harsh, but I have never heard a harsh word from Papa--firm and direct, yes, but never harsh and never condemning. I invite you, then, to reconsider your hearing if our Gentle Father sounds otherwise to you.
I was reminded of God's gentleness today as I went back one year in my journal at His nudging and found the following interchange between Father and me. I have edited the interchange only a little, but as I often do, I am giving you a transparent look into my Papa time in order to invite you into the place of intimacy with a Gentle Father who loves you more than you can imagine and who invites rather than coerces, woos rather than shames and commands only if love fails to bring a life-giving response from us. See what you hear Papa saying to you in the following interchange between God and me February 18, 2011. (The blue text is what I sensed Him saying to me).
You have caused me to face my worst fear, then experience it, and then you come to me to restore. I have had to be humbled in order to be healed, yet this is your kindness, not cruelty. Help me to find your kindness more than ever, Abba. Ah, Papa, I still don’t get it, do I? I still don’t get your love for me…
“Little one, no, you don’t get it. Not like you will get it. Yes, you still seem to think that once you get a little bit okay, you should not be ‘needy,’ and so you run from my embrace like you always have. But I will change that, child. I will pursue you with my love, I will trash your faulty paradigms, I will destroy the enemy’s lies with the Breath of Truth. But I will do all of this with utmost gentleness and kindness. Child, I know you don’t need harshness! Do you know that? I know that you don’t need someone telling you to ‘Buck up!’ And so I will woo you with my tenderness, invite you with my affection. But you are still thinking that this cannot be, that it’s too good to be true, that it will make you selfish to live this way. I must change this, little one, and I will. I will allure you, chase you down, persist in my invitation, redirect your thoughts, until I have you at last! Yes, I will do all of this and much, much more. Believe it, child. I am good beyond your wildest dreams and I will reveal my goodness to you. Does that phrase sound familiar to you, child?“I love you, child, and I am NOT disappointed in you. Live in my love, little one. The road I have placed you on is THE WAY, and it will not slip away from you nor will I allow you to slip away from it. The purposes I have revealed for you stand firm, child. Yes, this is your destiny, and I have to keep making things deeper in you for that destiny to be fulfilled. So come close, child, and let my Spirit come upon you and my love embrace you. I will indeed show you my face."
Yes, God is that gentle for those who respond to His gentleness! I know that some of what I and others like me write runs against the "religious grain" of a performance-based Christian religion, but I am more convinced than ever, having been through the fire and watching beauty rise from the ashes, that our best ideas of a Gentle Father, a Kind yet also Holy Father, fall infinitely short of how gentle and kind He really is. So I unashamedly invite you to enter into His kindness and experience His gentleness and watch what happens as His kindness leads to transformation beyond your wildest dreams!
Utterly undone by His gentle ways,
Tom, one Abba's very grateful children