Excerpt from Chapter 3 of Why Is God So Mad at Me? by Pastor Pat Schatzline
Throughout Scripture, the Bible declares that God is our Father, so it is easy for us to think He is like our earthly father. It’s easy for us to think, “Maybe God is just mad at me!” I wonder how many people reading this book wish they had heard the words I used to dread, “Wait till your father gets home!” So many in this generation have never seen their dads walk through the front door, when they hear people say, “God is your Father,” they wince at the thought. In fact, it may scare them or simply sound like Greek to them. We say things like, “Let’s worship the Father in heaven,” and they think, “Why?”
I am reminded of one particular night in the summer of 2010. While ministering at a youth camp in Florida, I was caught off guard during the altar experience. Hundreds of students were weeping for more of God, and I was sitting on the edge of the stage just enjoying the encounter taking place and not realizing I was about to be shaken to my core.
“Will you wrestle with us?” Those were the words I heard from four very large African-American guys from Miami. I’m not kidding when I say these guys were huge, and they were standing right in front of me. I said, “You guys are crazy! You don’t want any of this!” We all laughed at the very awkward moment. You see, they were responding to the altar experience that night. During my message to the hundreds of students I had talked about the deep relationship I have with my son and daughter. I had shared how I love to dance with my little daughter and wrestle with my son. These four strapping young men were asking a very real question.
After we laughed for a moment, the laughter turned to tears running down their faces. Then they said, “If you won’t wrestle with us, then will you hold us? Sir, you see, we have never been hugged by a dad.” I went to my knees and wrapped those four guys up for probably thirty minutes. I remember returning to my hotel room late that night and sitting on the side of the bed weeping. My shirt was covered with tears that did not belong to me.
The tears that now stained my shirt were from these young men. These were tears that belonged on the shirts of dads who simply never showed up to be fathers. These guys had never experienced a simple hug. The church is very good at telling people, “Your heavenly Father loves you!” But we don’t always realize how many people just don’t understand that. When we say, “God is your Father,” “God wants you to be His child,” “God has plans for His children,” a very large portion of this generation has a skewed view of what that actually means.
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, declared the importance of mom and dad: “Listen with respect to the father who raised you, and when your mother grows old, don’t neglect her. Buy truth—don’t sell it for love or money; buy wisdom, buy education, buy insight. Parents rejoice when their children turn out well; wise children become proud parents. So make your father happy! Make your mother proud!” (Prov. 23:22, The Message).
I have rarely met a young man who doesn’t think his mother is a saint, but I have met many who have nothing to say about their dads. How do you tell a teenager with no dad how to view God? This is the dilemma of this generation: no dad; no understanding of God.
Early one morning I heard my son yell for me from his bedroom. Nate was about six years old at the time. I looked at the clock, and it was past two a.m. I jumped out of bed and ran into his bedroom fearing the worst. I asked Nate what was wrong. He said, “Daddy, I just needed to know that you were home.” I said, “What? Why would you say that? Of course I am home.”
He said, “Daddy you have been gone so much I just needed to know you were home.” I remember crawling into bed with him and holding him close to me. It was one of many wakeup calls I have had as a father. Since that time I have said the same thing to God: “Dad, I just need to know You’re here with me!” I believe God loves it when we talk to Him like that.
For all the reasons we have discussed so far in this chapter, it is imperative that I address what makes God a good Father. If you realize who God is as a Father, you will never again feel alone! This is so important I am going to spend Part Two at ten attributes and actions of God. I believe knowing these truths will help address all or at least many of your questions about God’s role as our Father. Maybe if we see God for who He really is then it will allow us to understand that He isn’t mad at us. Get ready. Your journey is expanding. – Excerpt from Chapter 3 of Why Is God So Mad at Me? by Pastor Pat Schatzline