Thankfully, I have not taken calculus (or any math at all) in the past five years. Words are my thing, not numbers.
But when I was a senior in high school, I did take calculus. I would sit in my desk, hunched forward, pencil poised, staring intently at the rapid marks my teacher made on the board. He would turn, “See?” No. No, Mr. Calculus Teacher, I do not see. And I would just keep staring, brow furrowed.
Obviously I graduated from high school, so you know that somehow I passed calculus. Every once in a while–at least once before each test–the fuzzy haze around the marker board would clear and Mr. Calculus Teacher’s words would suddenly connect to the numbers and sign and I would exclaim, “That makes sense!” (I’m not even kidding, ask anyone in Coach Mayer’s Calculus class of 04-05. He even got in the habit of asking, “Caitlyn, does that make sense?”)
It’s like that in my life, too. The haze around something I’ve been staring at will clear and it finally drops into my head or heart with a thud.
Through the recent circumstances of my life, the Spirit has been showing me how much fear is a part of my life. How much it is a brick wall in my relationship with God. Today, I flipped to Romans 8:14-16 because I remembered something about fear in that chapter. You know the passage, it says:
For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
It has always been easy for me to relate to God as my heavenly Father because I am so blessed in my earthly father. I have a great dad who is present, loving, strong and faithful. And I grew up in church, so I know that I am God’s child. But today I realized that I’ve been seeing this whole father/daughter thing as a metaphor: God is like my father. I am metaphorically a child of God.
Wrong. This passage describes reality. It is truth. The reality is that I am much more God’s daughter than I am Bob’s daughter. It is truer to identify me as a child of God than it is to call me a child of Bob. And furthermore, this is the reality that God recognizes! We see that I was born to this man, but God sees that He first created me and then actually adopted me.
There is a huge difference between believing that God is like a father and believing that He is Father.
There is a vast space between believing that metaphorically, you are like God’s child and believing that you are God’s child.
Romans 8 goes on to say that if we are children, we are fellow heirs with Christ. Fellows of Christ. Heirs with Christ. Actually, His younger brothers and sisters. This is staggering! I almost can’t believe it.
I think The Message captures something of what this reality means for us today:
God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go! This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who He is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us–an unbelievable inheritance!