Every great love story has an obstacle which must be overcome. In my relationship with God, the obstacle has been my sense of obligation and my sense of who I was. I was the prodigal son, who came home to proclaim myself no longer fit to be a son, but only fit to be a slave. I accepted the party of welcome, then set about trying to make up for my betrayal of my Father by my servitude. I became a slave, endeavoring to please my Father.
I was convinced I ought to love God, and yet I thought I was by nature incapable of doing what I ought. I knew that love acts in certain ways, so I thought I must make myself act in those ways. I did not understand that love for God would grow naturally. I did not understand that I was fertile soil in which God had planted His seed of love. Everything the seed needed to grow was in place. The seed just required time.
Instead, I thought I was only fit to be a slave. I held as my mantra the verse, "There is none good, no not one." When God tried to assure me of His love and to claim me as His Daughter, I basically waved that verse at Him and refused to believe Him.
One day, God told me to go look up that verse. I went to the computer, opened BibleWorks, and hunted for the verse. It wasn't in any single translation. Instead, I found "There is none that doeth good, no not one." (I am still trying to figure out how I, and my sisters, memorized the verse incorrectly. Part of me wonders whether God just recently fixed a translation error in all translations, both electronic and printed, by His miraculous power.)
Sometimes, I hear a thought in distinct words, and I know it is God speaking. Other times, when I am afraid to listen to God because what He is saying is too scarily freeing, too different from everything I have believed, God starts nagging at my thoughts with something that won't go away. This was one of the times when I was afraid to believe God. It seemed to good to be true.
The thought that nagged at me is this. A child gets her father's name as her family name. The Father's name is my name. My name is Daughter I Am. My name is not I Do. At creation, God declared me very good, and that is who I Am. Though I may do things that are not good, my name is not I Do, so my essence is unchanged. I am who I am because I am my Father's Daughter, and He made me very good.
When the rich young ruler came and knelt before Jesus, he called Jesus "good teacher." Jesus asked him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone." This passage always bothered me. Isn't Jesus good? Didn't the ruler get it right here? Why is Jesus challenging him? Was Jesus challenging him to recognize Jesus as God? Lately, I've begun to wonder. What if Jesus was also challenging him to consider the tightly held belief that only God is good and man is bad? What if Jesus was challenging him to consider Genesis 1:31, in which God saw all that He had made and declared it very good?
I think God is asking me whether my family name is I Am or I Do. He is asking me to choose. I can choose to keep the name given me by the Father of Lies, or I can accept the name bequeathed to me by my true Father. It seems too scarily beautiful to believe, but my heart longs to believe.