Maybe it's because I didn't have good parents. Maybe it's because I didn't have the comfort, love, and security we associate with parents when I was growing up. Maybe it's simply my own emotional immaturity.
Whatever the reason, when we were asked at Bible Study the other night to read Ephesians 1:3-14, and share which verse(s) spoke the most to us about our identity in Christ, I had no hesitation in selecting verse 5:
He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will (Ephesians 1:5)
All over social media (especially Facebook), I see memes posted: "share if you had a wonderful father"... "share if your mom was always there for you"... "share if you had hardworking parents". I used to get a little jealous because I couldn't reshare those images. That wasn't my childhood. And today? I don't even speak to my parents (more their choice than mine).
As humans, we generally equate parents with the people who provide for our needs - physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. They provide us a roof over our heads, and food and clothing (these things my parents did do). But, parents generally also provide a safe place to go to when we're sad, or hurt, or angry. They offer us comfort. They celebrate our accomplishments. They teach us and love us. They kiss our skinned knees, and embrace us when we're crying.
I didn't have that. This simple fact alone is what kept me from God for many years. God is our father (and mother)... and my only examples of what a father or mother portraits was not so great. But now, I realize that God is not our earthly parents. All those things we equate with parents, God provides. He provides our basic necessities. He is there to embrace us when we're hurt and scared and angry. He is there to guide us and He loves us unconditionally.
We are children of God. We have been adopted by Him, through Jesus Christ. And this, above all else, provides me with comfort and peace. I am a beloved child of God.