Do you ever feel that you have a very difficult time picturing God as a Father who can be trusted? If your earthly father was never there for you, you may wonder how a Heavenly Father could ever be? You are not alone in your feelings.
One such child survivor wrote us and asked some heartfelt questions:
I don’t always feel like God is safe. I don’t know how to approach a father without fear. Jesus seems easier to me, even though he is Abba also. But fathers scare me. They feel punishing and critical. Just like my earthly father. But, also something else. My own father couldn’t be trusted. He would tell lies and deny things and promise things that he never followed through on. Countless times he would promise something and then forget about it. I don’t trust fathers. I don’t know what to say to them. What would a father be if he wasn’t somebody who hurt? Why would they pay you any attention if it wasn’t to punish you and hurt you? You may say that He’ll provide for my needs, but my own father didn’t provide for my necessities. How will a father nurture you? What will a man say that is gentle? What if God doesn’t like me, like my own father? What if He hurts me? I wish I knew what to say to God. –Child survivor
Abusive and authoritarian groups may talk about “God” but they teach a false God that was only satisfied with us if we obeyed (which actually meant obeyed the “government” in the group), and who would “punish and curse us” when we didn’t. We were vigilantly on guard, making sure that we did all the right things to keep out of trouble. This picture of God was flagrantly flawed, as it portrayed a judgmental, cruel and unmerciful father that expected perfection from his children–but at the same time never really loved them.
God is not a “father” in the same way that we picture an earthly father. He is so much more than that in His love and in His care for us. He showed us how deep His love was when He sent the most priceless gift that He possibly could, and that was His beloved Son, Jesus. It is impossible for this true God to ever do evil because He is totally righteous, just and holy. The Bible tells us He is love.
If you are a child survivor who never experienced love growing up, you have no doubt struggled with trying to understand what love really is. Only as you first see it expressed in other true Christians who truly care about you, will you begin to fathom just a little of how great His love must be. He is the only one who will never fail us and never forsake us, and who will always be there. He’s working things out in our lives which sometimes can be very hard to understand.
Trust is tied in with faith and hope. But trusting a God who loves us does not mean that we will lose all control over our own decisions. Since you were controlled so much by your parents and the leaders in the group, you can fear that God is going to do the same thing to you. Actually, He gives us freedom to decide what to do. He is there to guide us and help us, yet never, ever control or abuse us. Trust can be a very scary thing for you, but coming to the place where you can trust Him without fear will bring peace of mind.
So let’s see how His Word can help us to replace that old, false, hateful “god” with the true Abba Father who manifested Himself through the loving Lord Jesus Christ.
NOTE: When reading the following, try to see what these verses are actually saying, not what Herbert Armstrong, Gerald Flurry, David Pack (or another controlling leader) told you. Pray that the Spirit of God would reveal to your mind what He wants you to understand and to give you peace.
Is God Safe?
“Hold thou me up and I shall be safe.” – Psalm 119:117
“The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.” – Proverbs 29:25
“Thou art my hiding place: thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.” – Psalm 32:7
What if I am Afraid of God?
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” – Isaiah 41:10
“Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” – Isaiah 43:1
“Fear ye not, neither be afraid.” – Isaiah 44:8
“Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee; thou saidst, Fear not.” – Lam. 3:57
“Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” – Joshua 1:9
“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” – I John 1:5
Will God Punish Me or Be Critical?
“The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.” – Psalm 34:22
“For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” – Psalm 86:5
Psalm 86:5 “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” – Psalm 103:12
“…thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.” – Isaiah 38:17
“He [God] hath made us accepted in the beloved [Jesus].” – Ephesians 1:6
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” – I Thessalonians 5:9
Can God Be Trusted to Keep His Promises?
“God is not a man, that he should lie.” – Numbers 23:19
“..there hath not failed one word of all his good promises.” – I Kings 8:56
“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” Proverbs 30:5
“Thy word is true from the beginning.” – Psalm 119:160
“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” – Titus 1:2
“That by two immutable things [his promise and his oath], in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” – Hebrews 6:18
“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”- I Thessalonians 5:24
Will God Forget Me?
“Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet I will not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands..” – Isaiah 49:15-16
“And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hath not forsaken them that seek thee.” Psalm 9:10
“He forgetteth not the cry of the humble.” – Psalm 9:12
Will God Pay Attention to Me?
“The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord receives my prayer.” – Psalm 6:9
“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” – Psalm 139:17-18
“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” – Matthew 10:30
Will God Provide For My Needs?
“Behold, the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? – Matthew 6:26
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” – Romans 8:32
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19
Will God Nurture Me?
“I even I, am he that comforteth you.” – Isaiah 51:12
“I will see that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick…” – Ezekiel 34:16
“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” – Psalm 27:10
“He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3
Will God Like Me?
“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3
“…he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, … That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” – Ephesians 2:4, 7
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” – John 4:9
“For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.” – John 16:27
Can God Be Gentle?
“Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.” – Psalms 18:35
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3
“The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” – Deuteronomy 33:27
“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” – Isaiah 40:11
“…the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” – James 5:11
Can I Trust God?
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.” – Psalm 28:7
“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” – Psalm 34:8
“Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” – Psalm 62:8
“Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:” – Isaiah 26:4
Jesus Can Show Us the True Father
The above verses show us very reassuring things, but the best way any of us can truly begin to know what God the Father is like is to come to Jesus and believe on Him as the Son of God. Jesus was called Emmanuel, which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” – John 1:18
“And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.” – John 12:45
“God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself …” – II Corinthians 5:19
“I and my Father are one.” – John 10:30
“He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” – John 14:9
Let’s just look at a few more scriptures that show us how much Jesus really cares for us.
Gives Us Rest:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
Draws Us to Himself and Keeps Us Safe:
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” – John 6:37
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” – John 10:27-28
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” – I Timothy 2:5
Preparing a Home For Us:
“…I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2-3
Comforts us and Loves Us:
“I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.” – John 14:18
“If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” – John 14:23
“…having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” – John 13:1
“God is love” – I John 4:8
Gives Us Peace:
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” – John 14:27
Saves Us to the Uttermost:
“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” – Hebrew 7:25
Will Never Leave Us:
“…lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world [age]. Amen.” – Matthew 28:20
“…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” – Hebrews 13:5
Cares For Us:
“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” – I Peter 5:7
We Can Always Come to Him:
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:15-16
We Can Trust Our Heavenly Father:
Our Heavenly Father always loves us, and His Word is a progressive revelation of Him until at last we see Him fully revealed in the light of Jesus Christ:
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” – II Cor. 4: 6
Although it is very difficult and will take a long time, it is possible to come to trust our Heavenly Father and to know that He will always love, accept, strengthen, comfort and be with us forever. When we believe and trust in what He has already done for us, we can rest securely in Him and not be afraid, knowing we are placed forever in Christ Jesus who loves us with an everlasting love. Nothing can ever separate us from His eternal love. (Romans 8:35-39)
What a wonderful God and Savior He is.
By D. M. (former WCG member)
Exit & Support Network™
“All that we know of the Father is what we know of Jesus Christ.” ~John G. Mitchell, An Everlasting Love
My Position in Christ (accepted and secure forever)