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It’s been several years now since I had this vision, but it is still just as clear and as powerful to me as when God revealed it to me for the first time. With everything He’s done for us, it amazes me how much we can still run from God and draw back from Him in fear because we misunderstand His character, because we have an incorrect view of who God is.

Of course, so much of this has to do with the way we view our earthly fathers. If they were strict and demanding, we tend to see God that way. If they were distant and passive, we share that same view of God. Sure, there are exceptions, but generally speaking, we project our experiential views of fatherhood on our Heavenly Father. It’s no wonder we’re so afraid to trust Him.

Even in my vision, I knew that God was the only one who could truly save me, but because I had a false view of who He was, I was afraid to get close enough to let Him help me. Just like with my earthly father, I was afraid to go to Him in my need. And for so many years of having to be the strong one, I was afraid to come to Him empty, with nothing to give.

We’ve said it before that Satan is no fool. His objective is to keep us from God and to keep us wounded and under his control, and he knows that the best way to do that is to attack our view of who God is. Who would want to be with a God who is overly demanding or has too high of expectations, who is abusive or who delights in the pain of His children, who is passive and weak, who is absent, who is angry, who is . . . well, you fill in the blank. What was your father like?

And knowing this, Satan attacks the very structures of family and community and fatherhood, which were created and ordained by God for our blessing and joy and prosperity, and now in the deep wounds of our hearts, we carry around this same view of our Heavenly Father that keeps us turning away in fear.

And not only from our fathers, but we also gain a wrong perspective from unmet expectations of God, from “unanswered” prayer or hope deferred, from the misperceptions of others (including pastors and teachers), from books and movies, and just from our own limited capacity to grasp the infinite. Until this wrong perspective is corrected, we can’t move forward on our journey. Until we have a right view of God, our past, present, and future will remain to us a terrible tragedy.

Now, we could talk forever about the character of God. There will always be more to discover in our relationship with Him, but there are some key misperceptions that we must address now, if we are to understand where we are on this journey. This is by no means a comprehensive discussion of the topic, and there are different misperceptions that we each need to overcome from our unique wounds, but at the very least, may this stir a hunger within you to discover more and more of who God is in your own life.

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