There are many different ways that people see God. Some people see Him as a God who is far off, way out there, untouchable, somewhere in the universe. Some people see Him in a very formal way where they have a deep respect and reverential fear of Him. Some people see God as a God who is just out to get them. They think He has a baseball bat, looking down from heaven and waiting for them to make a mistake. They feel a pressure that they can never live up to. If that's you today, understand that that's a wrong image of God. The best picture we could have of God is the picture we see in scripture—the picture of God as a loving father.
A father is someone who is for you; someone who helps you overcome mistakes, someone who cheers you on as you pursue your dreams and always believes the very best in you. Many people know God as their Savior. That's the most important way. But when you know God as Father, your relationship with Him takes on a whole new meaning. You realize that He is not a God who is far off; He is not out to get you; He is not just there to point out what you are doing wrong. He is there as a constant source of strength and encouragement. He is there to lift you up when you fall, encourage you when you are down, push you forward when you feel like giving up!
Most people get their image of God from their earthly father. If you grew up without a father or a father who wasn't kind and loving; maybe he was even harsh or mean or not there when you needed him, then you have to make sure you don't let that image taint the picture of your heavenly Father. Maybe you have doubts about God's love for you. Know today that God looks beyond your doubts. He wants to reveal Himself to you.
In the Bible, Thomas doubted, too. When Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to Mary and Martha at the garden tomb He said, "Go tell my disciples." Word quickly got out that Jesus was alive. Everyone was so excited! There was great joy among all the disciples—all of them except Thomas. Thomas said, "Hey, wait a minute, guys, I'm a believer. I love Jesus. I know He promised that He would come back to life. Yes, I understand those women said that they've seen Him. But unless I see Him with my own eyes, unless I feel the nail prints in His hands, unless I touch the scars in His side, then I'm not going to believe."
A few days later, the disciples were gathered together when all of the sudden, Jesus came walking through the door. What's interesting is that Jesus didn't go over to Peter and say, "Hello." He didn't go over to Matthew and give him a big hug. He didn't go over to John and say, "Hey! I'm back. It's great to see you." No, Jesus headed straight toward Thomas. He didn't go out of His way to show Himself to the people who had the most faith; instead, He went right over to the one disciple who had the most doubt.
Jesus looked Thomas in the eyes and said, "Thomas, I've heard what you've said about me. I've heard you don't believe. You have questions. You have doubts. And you know what Thomas? That's okay. That's why I've come to you first. Go ahead and feel the nail prints in my hands. Touch the scars on my side. I want to assure you of this Thomas; I'm a faithful God, and I will do what I have promised."
Today, know that your doubts don't drive God away. He doesn't write you off and close the door. He wants to reveal Himself to you, and He wants you to see Him as your heavenly Father.
If you are ready to receive God as your Father, if you are ready to receive eternal life through Jesus Christ, it's as simple as opening your heart to Him. Because Jesus died and rose again, we can have that personal, close relationship with the Father for all eternity! That's what we are celebrating this weekend, His Resurrection! We invite you to celebrate with us and be a part of God's family by praying this simple prayer. We love you and celebrate that because He lives, we can live in eternity with Him!