By Brooke Holt
"The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made." Psalm 145:8-9
What is your view of God and what shaped that view – your relationship with your dad, a pastor, or some other authority figure? Does your view sync with what is revealed in Scripture? Many hold misconceptions and false images of God the Father. Some come from the relationships with those early influential people in life; some distortions were formed through trauma while others came through bad teaching we have heard through the years.
I had my view of God the Father challenged in college. Those four quite momentous years held much fun and also much trauma. Right after learning one of my best friends died in a car accident, I bumped into a friend from FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes). After hearing of my loss, this young woman told me God was allowing all this heartache and loss in my life to crush me and then remake me into who he wanted me to be. Clearly, she did not give the compassionate response you would like to hear. Satan used her words to plant this lie deep in my heart – God was watching me just waiting for me to mess up. I pictured him seated on a cloud ready to throw arrows in my direction. You can just imagine my fear of failure from there!
It took many years and much prayer to get past that image of God. Our crafty adversary is always looking for opportunities to plant seeds of doubt concerning the nature of God. Times of trauma often open the door for him to plant lies in our hearts.
Unfortunately, I am not the only Christian who has struggled with this view that God is hard, quick to condemn, and sits in heaven waiting to pour out his judgement. We far too quickly believe the lies of our enemy and too slowly receive God’s truth revealed in Scripture.
King David, the author of Psalm 145, was both one of the greatest sinners in scripture as well as the only one in it who is called a man after God’s own heart. Who could better speak into the nature and character of God than David? In this psalm, David exposes the true nature of God. He is not quick to condemn but he is gracious and merciful. Instead of being angry at and disappointed by our many failures, God is slow to anger. Our heavenly Father abounds in steadfast love; it is a love that knows no limits, that does not run dry, and that covers every aspect of our being.
You are his beloved child. He is always good to you, and his mercies are new every morning. When you hear hard words as I did or sense the enemy going after your heart, turn back to this psalm and remind yourself of the truth about God.
Have you heard hard words like I did? How have they shaped your view of God or how have the trials of life shaped your view? Ask the Lord if there are any lies planted in your heart today then allow him to root out the lies and fill those places with his glorious truth. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Follow the ancient way of the Psalms and find the life God has for you. A model for vibrant worship, the Psalms provide practical wisdom to traverse the circuitous path of life with trust and hope. Pilgrim’s Path: A Study of the Psalms traces our spiritual walk with God—from discovery and delight, through doubt and disappointment, into joyful confidence. Whether used for individual or group study, Pilgrim’s Path is for everyone who seeks to know and love God more and find life in him.
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