Remember those excruciatingly wavy, funny mirrors at carnivals? Remember how they distorted your eyes into bug eyes, your legs into matchsticks, and your tummy into a swollen watermelon? We laughed because it was absurd. It wasn’t reality.

But too many people, Christians and unbelievers alike, I fear, have a terrible, distorted view of what our precious, holy God is really like.

I remember, as a child, singing, “O be careful little hands what you do, For the Father up above is looking down in love, So be careful little hands what you do.”
Because of that song, I knew God was like my Daddy, my strong, smart, loving Daddy. Daddy was always alert, watching over me, yes, to be sure I didn’t so wrong, but also with infinite tenderness and kindness, watching over me to protect me from harm, “looking down in love” on me.

My friend says. “My mother taught me that song, too. But she always stressed that because God was watching me, I’d sure better be good, or He would really be angry with me.”

Is that your idea of God? Do you view Him as an angry old man, watching over the bannister of Heaven waving a big 2 X 4 beam, hoping He’ll catch you doing something really bad so He can gleefully whomp you over the head to punish you? Oh, dear friend, that isn’t what God is like at all. You’re seeing God in a distorting mirror, like those crazy mirrors at the carnival. Your Almighty Creator, your loving Heavenly Father, is not like that, has never been like that, and never will be like that! Psalm 116:1-9 describes Him this way:

I love the LORD
Because He hears and answers my prayers.
Because He bends down and listens,
I will pray as long as I have breath! . . .
How kind the LORD is! How good He is!
So merciful, this God of ours! . . . .
Now I can rest again,
for the LORD has been so good to me.
He has saved me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling.
And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth!

Is there heartache in this world? Oh, yes, certainly. Why? Mostly, come to think of it, because of the greed, selfishness, and hatred in the hearts of us human beings. It certainly is not because God entertains Himself by torturing us. On the contrary, in Ezekiel 33:11, God passionately begs: “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die?”

Yes, God punishes sin. We wouldn’t have it any other way, would we, because we want to be vindicated when we’ve been wronged. But God takes “no pleasure” in punishing sin. In fact, He has done all He could do for us, by taking the punishment for our sin on Himself.

So God, our Holy Creator, bends down in love to hear us pray. Do you need to quit viewing Him through a distorted, human lens?

Will you trust the God who loves you so much He suffered His Son’s death on the cross to bring you to Himself? Why not test the reality of His love for you against the distorted picture you may have of Him?

A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford