~ The End of Anxiety ~
Imagine, if you will, being a small child living in an ideal home: Whatever your real childhood was like, see yourself as a youngster, playing happily on the lounge-room floor with all your toys sprawled out around you. You are safe, and you know it. You are loved, and you know it. Your heart holds great peace.
Your parents have allowed you to be the child you are, without demands being placed upon you. Yes, there are rules you have to abide by, but you know that such rules were written in love and exist to ensure everyone living in the house is not taken advantage of, or hurt in anyway; you know the rules are all about love and respect for one and all, and you're happy to love others as you are loved.
Your parents, in whatever way suits them, work either in or out of the house, or both, in order to provide for you and your family. Whatever the household bills are, they tend to them. They do not expect you to rise up and take on adult responsibilities. They're aware that you're a child and they're happy for you to live as such. They planned you, they wanted you, they still want you, and they're very happy to care for you in whatever way is needed. They love you and they know what is and isn't needed for you to remain safe, happy and loved. And, through it all, day in and day out, no matter what, you trust them.
Life is good - as it's meant to be.
Now... hold that image... :)
One of my favourite books of all time is "The Autobiography of George Muller." He lived back in the 1800s. He started off as a rough and ready character, who often found himself in a heap of trouble, and locked up for it. He lived in a time and place where, as a male, you either became a doctor or a preacher. George became a preacher, despite the fact that he did not believe in God.
It would be years later, after signing up for the job he often took advantage of, that he would not only have his eyes, ears and heart opened to God, by God, but also start to live by faith. George, along with his wife, ran an orphanage and a parish, I believe it was. He never asked for tithe money. He never gave an offering message. In fact, he learned to never ask man for anything. He went solely to God for help, in prayer, and God always came through, one way or another, even if George had to wait to the twelfth hour before the answer came. He lived this way day in and day out, for everything and everyone he needed food and money for, and God never let him down.
I was glancing through this book this afternoon. I haven't read it in a couple of years, but it's a [true] story that has stuck with me ever since I read it for the first time. It has helped me with my faith in many ways over the years, even though it's been stuck in a cupboard somewhere and not seen the light of day in a very long time. And as I was flicking through it, I stopped on a section where he writes,
"It is infinitely precious to have the living God as a Father to go to for help. Everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus may claim His help since we are all children of God. 'For ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26)' Although all believers in the Lord Jesus are not called upon to establish orphan houses and schools for poor children and to trust in God for means, all believers should cast all their care upon Him who cares for them. We need not be anxiously concerned about anything. (See 1 Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:6, and Matthew 6:25-34.) ..." (found on page 143 of The Autobiography of George Muller.)
On reading that passage, I was given the above image of that child I asked you to imagine being. That child is you. It is all of us. God wants to tend to our needs; He's happy to tend to our needs. Only, we either don't live in His 'house' - by choice - or we don't trust Him when we do enter His place (His kingdom/our Home) and therefore He's not free to provide and care for us. Faith, as in trust, plays a huge part in us living in God's care.
However, He understands that we've been wounded a lot in this world, so much so that trust doesn't come easy to us. He gets that. He understands why it is hard for us not to run to Him with open arms. He understands why you don't trust Him - because you see Him through the hearts of those who have hurt you, betrayed you, broken you... But that's where God's heart through Jesus Christ and His Spirit comes in useful... :) We get to know God's real character, His heart, the depth of His love. We are shown love and acceptance, and, over time, we learn to trust. We once again become like little children - the little children we were before we were taught by this world not to trust; before we had our heart broken that first time.
God is our "Father" - not as in male, but as in Provider. You could say He has both male and female characteristics, but that's because He made "male and female" in a way that would reproduce after their own image (so to speak) and then He took parts of His character and placed it in woman, and others parts of His character and placed it in man. Two parents, as one, as originally designed, were to bring the fullness of God to their/our children, and in such care we, as children, were supposed to be free to love, be loved, and trust.
Unlike God, we humans can't be everywhere at once, nor do everything at once, so He gave male and female different tasks to do, different roles to play, different strengths and abilities to tend to household needs and that of the family. We, as parents, were designed to have the 'two become as one' so we could reflect the nature of God to our offspring. But, of course, like children stepping into their teen years, we rebelled against our Parent and His rules and, in ways, we stayed like spoilt children, wanting what we want when we want with whomever we want in whatever manner it pleases our flesh, so often our children - or us as children - are not shown the true nature of God, but, rather, we're often cut by the bits and pieces of the broken souls we became while stumbling through life, desire and ego.
Some of us are left with scars from our mothers, some of us are left with scars from our mothers, some are scarred by both, so it's very difficult to our hearts up to a God who is 'parent'... but God is not man. He is not tainted by selfishness, ego or rebellion. I know we've blamed Him for those things over the years, but that's the image of Hie #1 enemy, not Him. It may be the image we have of our parents, but it's not Him.
You know that desire you hold deep within? That yearning for love you possess? That desire to love and to be loved without lie, without fear, without being abused in anyone? You know that image you can see of 'the perfect love' and how you KNOW love should be...? Well, that's the image of God. That's the real Him. That true love; that love that does not abuse - no matter what religion or personal experience has told you.
As I mentioned in the above section that speaks about George Muller, there was a time - and still may very well be one - where a man became a preacher not because he loved or knew God, but because it was expected of him; it was the thing to do. So he took his closed, ignorant heart, and he read the word of God - if he was fortunate enough to have a copy of it in his own language - and he taught congregations that did not have a Bible in their possession. He spoke from his lack of understanding. He spoke from ego. He did not have insight into God's heart. He did not know God, and all that he passed on to others was born of his own ego and, more than likely, personal agenda.
Overtime, what was said from the pulpit by those who didn't know God not only took on the image of fact, but was passed on as tradition. In the tradition of man and man-driven religion, we are often taught God is an angry God, an unforgiving God, a hard-handed God who sits their ready to pounce on us and thwack us across the head and damn us to hell every single time we step out of line. But God is not like that. If He was, He would never have sent Jesus to die for our sins, to wash our sins away, to gain victory over His #1 enemy and over death for us, to give us access back to God, to correct the wrong thinking of legalists and hypocrites and rules He simply did not set into place, and to reflect the fullness of God's love - which He reveals through mercy and grace.
None of us are perfect, we've all got hang-ups, we all for short of perfect love. There's freedom in understanding that... for in seeing that we are prone to sin and rebel and rise up in ego, we can accept that others are, too... and when we see that those who have hurt us are no better or worse than us, we can then open our hearts to forgive. In forgiving, there is great peace and freedom and joy. Such peace, freedom and joy is worth forgiving someone over - even if we never have contact with that person again. And in forgiving humans for being humans, we can soon come to an understanding that they're not God... and the more we see God is rarely reflected through the broken shards of a human heart that is not in His hands, we understand that we were loved, or hated, through a broken soul, and that