Growing up at a boarding school in southern England during the 1970’s, I quickly came to assume to that if there was a God He was probably very like my housemaster – rather distant but generally benign, occasionally taking a real interest in me, and sometimes deeply terrifying, particularly when I was caught doing something I shouldn’t have been. Sadly, in my younger years these latter occasions were all too frequent and I grew to dread his command to “Go and wait outside my study.” Those words could mean only one thing; I had been found out and a beating was coming my way. I can still remember the pounding of my heart and the rising fear as I waited for the inevitable!
Over the years I’ve discovered that all too many share that view of who God probably is, but my own experience has shown me something rather different. First and foremost the God of the Bible is revealed as a loving Heavenly Father, motivated by love and concerned only to seek the very best for His children. Yes there’s discipline along the way, but it’s a loving discipline not designed to instil fear, but rather to keep us safe and lead us into the things that will help us prosper.