“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”
John 15:1-2 (NLT,)
When I speak to people who are struggling with their faith I would usually ask them to describe God’s character to me. I want to know how they see God and what they expect from Him. I would then ask to particularly describe what they think the Father is like. In most cases, they would describe the characteristics of a mother.
You see, so many people call God Father but treat Him like a Mother and expect God to treat them like a mother. What do I mean by this?
In a very general sense, the main difference between a mother and a father is simple: mothers enable, fathers empower.
It often works like this in my house. My kids know very well that I do not clean their rooms for them. They have to clean it. But when I’m not around they know (and expect) mom to do it for them. Usually, mothers would serve their families and do things for them. The big difference in a father (should be), he is more concerned about the development of the child than the immediate need for gratification.
Mothers would usually try to help their children avoid difficulty by serving them. Fathers would help them to embrace the difficulty so they can develop character and faith on the inside. It might not always be something nice for the child.
When mothers enable, they take care of the outside needs.
When fathers empower, they develop the inside character and faith of the child.
When you call God your Father, you should expect Him to treat you like a Father. He will prune you so that you can bear more fruit. He will cut of your useless parts and burn them. God wants you to bear fruit. This might mean that He would sometimes remove your comfort and place you in a difficult situation so that you can learn from your trials.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. James 1:2-3 (NLT)
When I father my kids, they complain. They like being mothered. When you believe that God will only take care of every little need of yours, that God will always mother you, you will very quickly find it difficult to believe in Him. But when you understand that God will prune you and clean you, you will consider it a great opportunity for joy.