Recently I had a conversation with an old friend. Like me, he’s middle aged and has some physical challenges. I told him that I hoped he felt the Father’s arms around him one day. He replied that he is running as fast as he can from that. He’d had two near death experiences and if he gets face to face with the Father than that will mean he died.
I explained to him that he had misinterpreted my meaning entirely. Yet, this left a picture in my mind’s eye of many of us who run from the Father’s outstretched arms. We fear the closeness to a God that we can not see and don’t understand. Most of us have a idea of the ten commandments and realize that we fall short of meeting that challenge. So, in our lack of understanding we run away from God rather than towards him.
The bible states that He wants to be near us. Yet, unless we are in dire straights we do not wish to spend any time with the Father. Imagine if you had children and the only time they wished to spend time with you was if they needed something. Of course you want to give them things but wouldn’t you like to spend some quality time with them as well?
Sadly, many have a dim view of the Father because they see their own earthly father’s mistakes. Yet, unlike any earthly father…our heavenly Father is perfect in every way. He loves his children without favoritism. He is never too busy for them. He delights in them. He is for you and not against you. Our earthly fathers could never give us the absolute love of the Heavenly Father. Yet, we so often go after the gifts of his hand without wanting to spend time looking into his face.
Imagine it’s Christmas and the father has presents everywhere for his children. He’s excited to see what his children will do when they open their gifts. His heart is to give them the greatest gifts. The children race towards the gifts but even though the father has his arms outstretched, the children take the gifts and run away. Now, our heavenly Father doesn’t abandon us when we do these things. In truth, when disaster strikes he is there again to listen to our cries for help.
Yet, if we had been giving our heavenly Father more time we would have heard his warning signs and known when trouble was near. If we were spending time with him we could have been guided to be on the right path. He is slow to anger and quick to forgive. But, what an empty and troublesome life we lead when we run away from him in fear. When his arms are stretched towards us in love, we fear his wrath.
At this wonderful time of Father’s Day, I pray that our earthly fathers will take a moment and be an example of the heavenly Father to their children. I pray that Jesus will shine through them in this time of challenge in our world. I pray they will step up to the plate and be the Godly men God created them to be. It’s a challenge to be a father. There will be times of great joy and sorrow. There will be a need for strong guidance as children want to go their own way and you know it leads to disaster. You will be tempted to give up. You might all ready have blown it completely. Where ever you are, look up. Ask for help from the perfect Father. No matter how old you are, we are still His children ourselves.
Jeremiah 31:3 says it clearly "The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness." Fear him in reverence for he is God, but come to him as he asks because you are his children.