I’m the type of person that likes to have all the answers. I like to understand… how things work, why things happen, and how things in life fit together. I’ve always been curious and I usually ask lots of questions. Sometimes this can work in my favor and sometimes it gets annoying. Just ask my husband 😉 But I think that the Lord gifted me with a strong desire for learning. I was always an excellent student and now as I’m in the “real world” of adult life, I strive to be the best employee and worker I can be. I always go above and beyond, striving to exceed expectations and be the detailed and thorough person that I am.

When I was 14 years old, I lost my dad to a battle with ALS. It was devastating, to say the least, and threw me in a loop of unanswered questions. I needed to understand why this happened, but my 14-year-old brain couldn’t rationalize how a wonderful, Christian father and husband would be taken from this Earth. He did all the right things. He played piano at the church I had been going to for 14 years. He was a loving and caring father, husband, teacher, brother, son and friend. He was the spiritual pillar of our family, leading and guiding us to be stronger believers and God-seekers. WHY would he be taken away so early? It really bothered me that I couldn’t figure this out, and to be honest, it changed my view of God for years to come.

Everybody kept telling me, “Everything happens for a reason” and “God works in mysterious ways,” but none of that BS ever helps. Has anyone ever been comforted by someone telling you that everything happens for a reason? Well I haven’t! So probably around the age of 18-20, I began trying to fill in the gaps myself. I started wondering why God would do this…

Was God trying to teach me a lesson?

Maybe He took my dad away to get my attention?

Maybe that was the only way I would have gotten closer to God was if my dad was taken away.

Maybe I would have drifted away from God had my life went on like normal. If God hadn’t taken him, I wouldn’t have been the strong Christian I am now because nothing would have pushed me towards God.  

Maybe there was nothing left for my dad to do on this Earth anymore?

And so, that is what I started telling myself… that this was a lesson for me and that God was trying to get my attention. This was my view of God.

Fast forward to about two years ago: I got introduced to better covenant theology through the Bible school that my husband is enrolled in. I started learning about the God of the Old Testament and how the apparent differences between Him and Jesus weren’t what I had always been taught. I started connecting the dots to many things I had wondered about in my early years of Sunday school. I knew God wasn’t a mean God, but I couldn’t explain why. When confronted with questions about the God of the Old Testament in all his rage, killing sprees, and malice, I couldn’t answer. But through new teachings, my mind started to be renewed with fresh and contextual biblical understanding and interpretation. Mind you, I grew up in a non-denominational, un-spirit-filled church for 22+ years and through which laid the foundation for 99% of my theological and spiritual understanding. So many teachings were completely new to me and thus I’m still trying to unlearn a lot and relay ground work for a new foundation.

In the midst of these last two years, many times my thoughts have returned back to my childhood and my dad. The Lord has gently showed me how I have misunderstood many things about my past and many things about Him. My understanding of God’s character has probably seen the most transformation. Understanding the truth about the God of the Old Testament has freed me of so many things. The Bible is truly a love story and now I get it! I finally understand the full picture of God – not just the “New Testament” Jesus. God has always been for me and for my family, just like He was always for his people, Israel. He had perfect plans for them from day one. He wasn’t a punisher by nature. In the same way, He loved my dad very much and it was never his plan or desire for him to be stripped of this Earth early. It was never his desire for me to go through so much pain and heartache. ALS was never his plan or desire. He wouldn’t have tried “to get my attention” by taking away somebody that I love. That’s not how a good Father treats his child.

On a bigger scale, I have heard that the church is in a season of understanding and encountering God the Father, and this couldn’t be more true for my life right now as well. I’m getting to know and better understand God as my father. I’m not a parent yet, so I think even more revelation will come in that season of my life, but I am gaining deeper understanding about the relationship between a parent and child.

Over the last two years, I’ve started allowing God to fill in the gaps for me instead of trying to do it myself. I know that I might never fully understand why my dad died until I’m in heaven, but I can easily understand God’s heart towards me.

One of my favorite verses is 1 Peter 1:6-8.  

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious that gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Our faith is more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire. We aren’t promised a perfect life without trials, but we can hold steadfast to the hope of heaven! I can rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory knowing my Father is a perfect Father and loves me more than any earthly father could. Now, this is comforting!

I encourage you to allow God to fill in the gaps of your life. Allow your understanding of God’s character to penetrate your daily thoughts – especially the ups and downs that life brings. Give God the credit He deserves by acknowledging him as the God of the Bible – the same yesterday, today and tomorrow – and not just the God of the New Testament. Help others to understand this God too!

Written by: Kelsie Ebel