Is this your Father’s Day come true?

The child wonders aimlessly though out the lonely back yard. Her lips utter an endless torrent of mournful crying:

Dad,

Daddy,

Daddy,

Daddy,

Dad…

She never stops. I find it drawing out a wave of annoyance from my heart. And yet, a larger, deeper part of me resists the desire to call out the window and tell her to quit her mantra. A great sensitivity within hopes she will continue; at least, that she will not stop. Someone must answer her. Someone must care. The one she implores must respond to his name.

Whether her constant pleading bespeaks great need or is just an occupation to fill her time spent outdoors alone, I see a picture in it of the great longing of her soul. More than her need for her father in physical form to come join her in the garden is her need for her Father in Spirit form to come make a garden of fellowship for them in her heart. She needs companionship and love, tenderness and instruction, but even if the father she is calling works most diligently to provide these things, He will have left some very necessary child-care undone.

This is not a fault to be made as a charge against him. This is a factor of his child’s nature; she has needs larger than she can fill. She needs a father to love her, but even more so to know the Father who loves her. She may never be responded to by her earthly dad. He may neglect his charge and fail to fulfill his duty to her. He may fail. But all is not lost if he does. In this world, the expectation of him in his role as a daddy includes the element of failure. He is subject to incomplete success. He can never do it all; even what he was intended to do.

Yet, in his mistakes and, even in his malevolence, there is hope. He is not the ultimate Papa for his little girl. She belongs to another. There is One who will answer her call every time she finds herself in search of DADDY. He will not miss her voice, or excuse her need for one of His own. He will come to her and delight Himself with her. He will be all that her (d)addy is supposed to be a picture of.

With the knowledge that He always sees her and never forgets her, she can celebrate the fact that she was made for a DADDY. She can discover her true identity and live like a girl who knows to Whom she belongs. She can carry herself with confidence and grace as one with understanding about love. She need not fall prey to every counterfeit offer of passion for she will never be able to escape the beautiful fact of her wanted-ness. She will learn, with time, that the only One she truly wants is the One who most assuredly wants her. He is the One who is worth entreating again and again and again. After all, He answers.

Wikipedia: Used to indicate the object, aim, or purpose of an action or activity: trained for the ministry; put the house up for sale; plans to run for senator.

Will things ever get better for me when I have all this garbage to handle?

I have asked this question so many times. I have been confident that the answer is no; that God does not care about me so much as I would like Him to; that He is somehow too passive to deal with my pain as it should be handled.

But how should my pain be handled? I generally look upon my surroundings and wait for Him to do something grand. When I think He’s taking too long, I summon all my understanding of the matter and scream: “Get rid of what’s out there! Can’t you see it’s killing me inside?”

But lately, I’ve discovered something new. I been learning to draw near to God with an open heart. I come with a deeper concern than what’s going on outside. I come expecting Him to do something inside. I do this because that’s where the pain is; that’s where I really need Him to do something with me; that’s where His presence will make the grandest difference I know.

With grand expectations of a heart visit, I ask, “Would You please come inside? I’m hurting so much and I need You to handle me, Lord. Don’t skip over me to handle my problems, please, Lord; instead, skip over my problems to handle me. I am the one who needs you–I am the one that was made for You. I am the one who will rejoice to experience more of You. I am the one to whom You must draw near. I am the one You must pull close and reassure. I am the one You must quiet with Your love. I am the one who discovers who You really are and loves You more because of it. I am the one who thanks you because all of this is true and most of all You are true!”

God, You call this a make-over?!

Sometimes I have a lot of questions for God. They are not always very pleasant ones either. You see, I’m all for improving the person I am, but at times I really get confused at what He’s doing. When this happens we have a talk. (Thank goodness I can be real with Him!)

A sample of our conversation may look something like this:

God, what is wrong with me? Am I getting in your way? Am I not fit for your use? Have you changed your mind? Have I been thinking the wrong things–things that are just too big for me to be expecting–all along? Are You going to move at some point and make all of this clear?

And God answers fitly–usually with less emphasis on my problems than on me and my relationship to Him:

 

Can’t you see: I am moving. I’m moving on your behalf. I’m moving away obstacles that take up room in your mind and I’m making you, instead, more mindful of Me.

This is a good process. It may seem to you to be a long one, but it is a good one. I am in it. I do not leave you alone in it; instead, I teach you to see My love in it.

Yes, you will be alright because I know what I am doing. I am caring for the soul of my little, needy child. You are exactly where you’re supposed to be and so am I.

Relax and be still, My child. I am here.

And there it is…

Rest is lost on the racetrack

If you are struggling because you seem to be missing God, do me a favor: Sit down, be quiet for a few minutes, and don’t move. Don’t be rigid, but rest.

God Himself has been watching your every move, ready to meet you, but unable to get your attention long enough for you to consciously slow down and move in to hear what He has to say to you.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes God can feel far away even when we have been peaceful in our anticipation of His revelation.  But, if that’s where you are, and you’re growing impatient, know that the story isn’t over. You can’t write up your disappointment report until God moves, speaks or reaches out to you.

The question is not, will God respond? but will I like how He responds? God never fails to return the attention we give Him, but we must learn how to interpret the aspects of that return.

If God takes longer than we think He should to answer us, is He wrong? If He says no, when every happiness in the world pointed to yes, has He deprived us unfairly? If He says yes when we were desperate for Him to relieve us with a calm no, has He lost His compassion; can we no longer trust Him to do good on our behalf?

Before you try to make those judgments, I wonder if you have realized that God never said that any of those things were not good. And if I may now go one step further, I am curious if you know that He is adamant that they are good so long as He has chosen to give you this response to prayer. This is true because everything that God does is good — absolutely every time.

Now consider that God grants half of your wish: you ask for peace and happiness and He gives you peace. Do you judge His response as soon as it comes, or do you turn to the Lord in a spirit of humble submission and offer the Lord your worship even in your momentary ignorance of the beauty in His plans?

Let me tell you that God wants the latter, but not just for His own sake. Take this into account:

More than anything else, our prayers teach us what we value and show us where we need to grow. He is working to make clear to us, in every instance that we seek Him, just how we are missing the heart of God. But He does this not for the purpose of finding fault with us. He does everything with the intent of bringing us closer to Him, and bringing our character into greater conformity with His.

This is not a punishment, but an opportunity in everything we do to be like God and full of God. There could be no greater gift: God, when He is known for who He truly is, proves in us, that He is nothing short of everything we live to know and experience.

Do we vaunt pride more than patience; do we value power over persistence; do we seek prestige to the neglect of persecution? Then we are missing the point of living, the object of seeking God.

No matter what He says, I want to be able to show off God’s answers to my prayer, especially the ones that show His glory in contrast to my sin. For, how can He appear more faithful, more purposeful, more compassionate and merciful if I deny that I need all these things? And if I do not realize and proclaim that I am in debt to Him in all these ways, I will absolutely revert to believing that I am deserving of everything that comes to me from Him — and then, even more than that.

So, the keys to hearing, and more importantly relating, to God are resting and waiting. And the way we rest and wait is summed up perfectly in James 1:4:

But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Recognize that God’s ways are above your own. Rather than grumbling, use your responsive efforts to praise Him for that — knowing that the end will make clear His wisdom that is mysteriously in play now. Let us not meet that end and be grieved that God’s only offering from  us was anxiety and displeasure.

It is impossible to have regrets with God when we trust Him. When we rely on Him with our whole being, we will neither look back with disappointment at His behavior toward us, nor remorse for our behavior toward Him.

What Did You Expect?

It was totally going to work, and then _____ had to happen! Have you had that happen to you lately — something that ought to have worked out perfectly for you because you were depending on the outcome? But, because it didn’t, you have a situation you’d rather not have to deal with right now.

How many problems in our lives spring out of things that just had to work, and didn’t? Like a surgery, a test, an emergency response, a call for help. I don’t have much experience with these examples, but many of you do. You know what it’s like when it seems like God isn’t there. Or, maybe you believe He is still there, but are dissatisfied with what He’s doing.

How many of us feel that we are at odds with Him because He works, but not by our standards of excellence? Maybe the problem is more with us than we realize, though.

No, maybe the situation that we’re in isn’t our fault, but what if that’s not God’s main focus? What if He’s more tuned into our response to what is going on than we can understand? What do we do then?

If He knows what we’re going through, and He is choosing to be a part of it all, why isn’t He shaping up everything to look and feel better now?

I think the key here could be that idea we have of everything. What is that part that God has chosen to work on? Is it our circumstances or our hearts; our wants or our attitudes?

When I look at a problem I have, I look for what God is doing with the BIG things — what is going on around me — not so much in me. But, are those really the big things — at least as far as God is concerned?

Do we really think that God, when He seems sluggish to us in the matters that are most important to us, that He is not at the same time working consistently in the matters that are most important to Him? Could it be that He is operating in such a way as to turn our hearts to what His heart is after?