“I Resented God”

The heart of the Father is expressed  beautifully by this blog written by Siete Hicks. Be blessed as you hear Abba’s voice of healing love through it.

Almost three years ago today I wrote a post talking about how I was fatherless by choice. The post ended with me asking God to give me the strength to open the doors to my heart and let Him reveal Himself as a Father.

Well…up until about a week ago, I was still keeping Him at arm’s length. I wanted to believe He was a good Father, but how do you believe someone is good when they’ve taken so much from you? And how do you accept someone as a father when you haven’t seen that side of them and just want the dad you had back?

I had finally gained peace about my earthly father’s death and could see how God worked through that, and I could see God’s different attributes and declare them good, but His being a Father was still something I struggled with and quite frankly didn’t want to experience since I had already determined He wasn’t a good Father. A little piece of my heart still resented Him, but it hid the resentment well.

Also three years ago, I was signed up to go on a mission trip to South Africa that COVID-19 ended up canceling, and I took the opportunity to add that to my list of things God had taken from me. Then later that year was when I decided that I was going to wrestle with God. And I did. I yelled, I screamed, and I even tried to run away at one point. It was exhausting in every way possible, and it hurt as I worked through my pain, but it was encouraging as I looked back and realized how God was reshaping and restoring me.

In the end, I was grateful I didn’t go to South Africa because there was no way I could’ve been a blessing to others and be blessed myself by the trip with all the unresolved feelings I had towards God.

Fast forward to the present day…Yesterday I got back from that trip I was supposed to go on three years ago. I flew there curious why God was allowing me to go years later, and I flew back so much more healed in my understanding of Him. God had given me a glimpse of who He was when I wrestled with Him the first time, but this trip…this was about Him showing me specifically who He was as a Father because that was His attribute I still struggled to understand, and accept.

I went to South Africa and I saw Him. I saw Him in extreme brokenness and heartache. I walked among people whose lives could not be any more chaotic, and yet there was proof everywhere of God being a good Father. These people’s lives had been shattered, and yet they still called God good and found Him worthy to be praised.

These people had so little, and yet there was proof of God being a provider.
These people lived among violence and chaos, and yet there was proof of God bringing peace to their lives.
These people…had experienced so much heartache, and yet there was proof of a Father loving His children so deeply.

There’s a song called “Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin. This past week was the first time I was able to sing that song. Every time I heard that song so much anger and resentment would stir in my heart and I literally could not physically get myself to even mouth those words. And now…now I have tasted and seen that God is good.

During one of our outreach days, I was holding a little girl who lived in a community controlled by gangs; a community where violence happened on a regular basis. I had never met this girl, as she wasn’t in the class I was helping with and had picked her up after a boy had come and shoved her down on the ground.

After talking with the boy and making sure there were no tears, I asked if she wanted me to put her down so she could play, but she clung to me even tighter and refused to be set down. So I stayed put and cherished the fact I was holding a little girl whose story I didn’t know; who simply just wanted to stay in my arms and be loved. So there we stood with her face buried in my neck, and her arms and legs wrapped around my body. She then suddenly pulled away, looked at me, then put her forehead against mine, and closed her eyes. As I closed my eyes, I felt a peace settling over us and the chaos around us stilled. The harsh wind softened, and in that moment I felt how much God loved this little girl whose name I didn’t even know, and in turn how much He loved me. As a Father. He was showing me what His fatherly love felt like. I felt Him tell the resentment in my heart to leave, and relief washed over me as the weight I carried for so long was finally taken away. My heart finally understood and accepted the Fatherly attribute of God.

If I had gone to South Africa three years ago, I wouldn’t have gone to the same part of the country, and I wouldn’t have met the people who poured into my life for the past week and showed me God’s heart. God DID want me to go on this trip. He didn’t take anything away from me, but He had me wait until I was spiritually ready, and until I would be able to go where He wanted me to be. God will never stop chasing and showing you who He is. He will seek you out and prove Himself to you. He is a good, good Father, He is perfect in all of His ways, and He is perfect in His timing.

“But you, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and you never, never quit.” (Ps. 86:15 MSG)

“Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him.” (Ps. 34:8 MSG)

“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who He is or what He’s up to.” (1 Jn. 3:8 MSG)

Oceans Men’s Retreat – July 2023

The Only One Not Seen!


Who was the only one in human history that was not seen? This past Sunday morning I asked this to a perplexed looking bunch during a church service. You could tell minds were zipping through stories in Scripture seeking to find the answer. Finally, a middle school young man from Holland Christian in Michigan, almost fell out of his seat as his hand flew up and shouted out “Jesus! He was spot on.

Lately I been reflecting on how perhaps our heartfelt need within each and every one of us is to be seen. We want somebody to notice us. We want to matter. The last 10 days we were reminded of this as Oceans Ministries was privileged to lead middle school boys joined by their principal, a high school senior, a sister and a mom on a Kingdom Encounter. These young men, and those accompanying them, were amazing, serving almost 1000 meals to those in extreme poverty, loving on children, and praying with boldness over many in the community.

Each evening as we gathered for “family time” there was a sense of expectancy and excitement as each of us shared a high and low about the day. Behind these quirky, energetic, always hungry young men, were boys who welcomed hugs, had the freedom to cry, and soaked up words of affirmation. Deep down aren’t we all like that? When we don’t feel seen we end up doing some crazy things in life; just to be seen. Think about the outrageous posts on social media or the way we act out to draw attention to ourselves because deep down in every soul is a need to be seen.

And that is why the Father took His eyes off His perfect Son Jesus. Jesus, the only One in human history who for a moment was not seen by His loving Father as He took on the sins of the world. Jesus became our curse, carrying our rebellious heart to the cross and He was crucified for our sins, so that we would never experience the Father taking His eyes off of us. We will never have to call out like Jesus did, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me” Matthew 27:46.

Healing and transformation happens when our eyes of faith are opened to the One who really sees and knows us with His perfect love. Read Genesis 16 sometime and you find a story laced with sin. Sarai is tired of waiting for God to act and give her a child. So she comes up with disastrous plan of giving her servant Hagar to Abraham in order to have the child God promised. Abraham sins by sheepishly going along with the plan and once with child Hagar sins by mocking Sarai with pride.

All this erupts as Sarai mistreats Hagar and she runs away. In the midst of all this sin and pain God goes after Hagar and tells her she is going to have a son and to call him “Ishmael,” which means God hears. Hagar responds in faith and from then on Hagar referred to the LORD, who had spoken to her as,

“The God who sees me!” (vs. 13).

What a picture of how our Father runs to us in Christ in the midst of our sin and misery.  As we call out for help He is there to forgive and show us His love in the gift of His Son. Jesus, His onlySon whom the Father looked away from so that we could be seen and loved by our Good Father.

Our last night with these amazing group we shared Communion, anointed and prayed over each one as a symbol of the Holy Spirit sealing their hearts to the fact that they are seen by their Father.

Praise God for the Holy Spirit, the Word, our Baptism, and the LORD’s Supper that shout out to us,

“I have seen the God who sees me!” (Gen. 16:13)




How Then Shall We Live?

How do we live as followers of Christ in a culture that is rapidly becoming anti-Christ? Last week I was asked to speak to at a rehabilitation group dealing with addictions. For six weeks Dutch clients are sent to South Africa to work on their recovery. The director is trying to introduce both a spiritual and service side to their recovery.

But for the first time in my ministry I found myself speaking to group where the majority had no faith or even anti faith. You could sense and physically see manifestations of anger in some toward what was been shared. As I ended the time with comments and questions I heard painful stories of their past and even church experiences that left them angry toward God or even denying His existence.

As I drove home I pondered the experience and asked the Father how do we live in the midst of a culture where what happened is the norm? Here are a few thoughts that came to mind:

  1. Secure in Him – Followers of Christ must find their security in the perfect love of God the Father. As we become the minority, our identity can’t be determined by what the crowd thinks of us. It must be rooted in a love shown to us in the Father’s gift of Jesus and His precious blood. This blood offers us forgiveness, healing and restores us to the Father’s arms, giving us security throughout our lives. The apostle Paul ministered in every town and city as the minority and yet what gave him boldness and courage was a love that he could never be separated from his Lord. “…nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of the Father that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 8:39.
  1. See with The Father’s Eyes – As I was speaking to the Dutch clients I could see red angry rising in some. I prayed for the Father to show me His heart for these broken individuals. So I could see past their resistance into the pain and the protective layers covering their wounded souls.

Too easily we can run from these encounters or become defensive. But behind the facades are hurting children created in the image of God who need His love. If the Father demonstrated His love to me in the midst of my sin and rebellion I am called to have a patient love like His (Romans 5:8).

Our secular world needs to see the Father’s love pouring out of us serving even those who hate and despise what we stand for. This was how the early church transformed their culture as the hated minority. They loved the poor, the sick, the broken, their persecutors showing the supernatural love of Christ in them as in 1 Peter 3:15.

  1. Spirit Led – It is not our job to change hearts, rather the Spirit’s. We are called to be faithful to where the Spirit leads us and trust His power not ours to speak and love through us to the most hardened of hearts.

I was reminded of this after the meeting as I spoke with some who wanted to talk more. One person asked if I thought his kids would every forgive him and if he could ever forgive himself. This opened up a door to share about the source of all forgiveness. After this conversation I was told that just a few days earlier this person voiced his utter distain for God.

I leave you with Paul’s amazing words as one who lived and ministered as the minority and left the results up to the Spirit of God:

“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that you faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Cor. 2:1-5)

This is how we should live!




Living with my Father

Post Written by Mike Verkaik

Yes, that is a picture of me taking a Sunday afternoon nap on the couch with my dad and dog, Mickey. This picture resurfaced a few weeks ago at our Verkaik Christmas gathering. A gather- ing that was reinstated after my sister’s cancer diagnosis. Maribeth brought a box of sentimental treasures that she had received from my mom before she passed away in 2015 for us to go through, so it had been sitting around for a while.

The picture now resides in a cabinet in our house, in a place that was very difficult for Dawn to find, but I am glad she did. God brought this picture to the forefront of my mind last week Thursday as I began seeking him in the Psalms. A few days earlier I had read Psalm 27 and made the comment, “I should read that Psalm everyday”. It is a Psalm written with an amazing confidence in who our God is, and perspective on a right relationship with him. For a person, like myself, who can struggle with fears, verse one is my battlecry when it proclaims, “Yahweh is my revelation-light and the source of my salvation. I fear no-one!” Psalm 27:1 (TPT)

However, this morning the way the Passion Translation translated verse four caught my attention, stating, “I want to live with him every moment in his house…” Psalm 27:4 (TPT). After reading that sentence, I stopped and wrote down this phrase, Living with my Father.

After Dawn, Maribeth and my brother-in-law, Jim, flew back to the States last Tuesday, I remained at ORC. While dwelling here I have continued to process conversations, prayers, and the worship we had together, while also preparing for a middle school team arriving later this week.

The diagnosis of cancer Maribeth received has impacted all those who know and love her. For me, the news brought a new layer of perspective into my daily thought patterns and schedules, scripture readings, praying and contemplating life, especially Jesus’ life. How he lived in the midst of sickness, and with his Father.

While the week went on, that phrase – Living with the Father – was underlined, and surrounded by arrows. Reading Psalm 33 added this addendum – Living with the Father, for me is — a place of song! For people who know me well, know that when I burst out in spontaneous worship and song it reveals my soul and the closeness of my relationship with God at that moment.

How do we even begin to live with our Father, the creator of our world, our bodies, our hearts and souls without worship? Regardless of how weak and frail, fearful and discouraged we are, His words of assurance state:

The eyes of the Lord are upon even the weakest worshipers who love him – those who wait in hope and expectation for the strong, steady love of God. Psalm 33:18 (TPT)

The perfect love of our Father accepts even the weakest worshiper, living life with Him and says, “my eyes are on you”, or for me, on this day, “feel the warmth of my embrace around you.”

On the contrary to the world’s imagery of noticing others and showing love, God has mysterious, supernatural and an unconditional way of enhancing our awareness of His strong, steady love for us. On this day it was a preparation question from John 13, dated Thursday, February 2, for the upcoming team:

Ask the Father to show you who He wants you to serve today?

With that request as my final journal entry, I put my earbuds in for a much anticipated hike up the mountain to prepare my heart for a mentorship meeting later that day. Halfway up, heaven came down and crossed my path with Denise.*

I had seen Denise earlier that week in passing with Jim and Dawn. We said, “hi”, and I think she asked, “How are the ants?”, as they have been a problem lately. Hindsight, I now know that was a prelude for our extended conversation today. This time as I passed her on the trail, she paused and turned towards me. So, taking out my earbuds the Holy Spirit led me to ask. “Hiking again, where are you from?” Being from California and having a brother in Grand Rapids, MI. provided a bit of small talk or, as we say, “dutch bingo”. However, this was short lived as the Spirit opened the floodgates of a turbulent last year and her three young daughters, struggling in the midst of an uncertain future, and a longing and searching for peace. As I listened my heart overflowed with Abba’s heart of love and compassion for her pain in the midst of a life she could not control.

Little did Denise know that as we met, shared and prayed on the side of that mountain, Abba was showing both of us His strong and steady love for us. One in the privilege of serving and sensing His presence in me and another in the receiving. As our prayer ended, there we were both in a better place of peace, of rest. Standing there with our Father wrapping his arms around us, like my dad’s. However, I can also imagine Abba maybe winking at us, in our weakness, saying, “I’ve got my eye on you!”

So now put into practice what I have done for you, and you will experience a life of happiness enriched with untold blessings. John 13:17 (TPT)

* Name was changed