Saturday, 19 January 2013

Daddy, My Daddy

I was greatly helped in my prayer life after reading Rosalind Rinker’s book, ‘Conversational Prayer.’ I learned to put a chair for Jesus ( for we only know what God is like through Jesus) and imagine him sitting there. Now I can tell him all about my troubles, or desires, and then imagine what he replies. God uses my imagination, and my knowledge of his word, and I find that he has indeed spoken to me.

I was sharing this with some women, and when I said how sometimes I would kneel at God’s feet, placing my hands in his, a woman told me ‘I always picture myself climbing into his lap.’

I pondered on this for a long time. How was it that I had never dared to think of God in this way? Was it because I had never been able to come to my own father in this way? Yes, he was a good dad, and I’m sure he loved me, but because he had bad nerves and an unpredictable temper, my childhood trust was replaced by fear.

While in Ghana I was told, It is no use preaching about the fatherhood of God, for many do not even know who their father is. (Sadly, not just in Ghana)
I could not accept this. Jesus told us to say, ‘Our Father.’ He died so we might know this wonderful relationship of a child reconciled to his father. He wants every one of us, you and me included, to know that we can run to him, climb on his knee and know his arms around us; his words of comfort whispered into our hearts.

I’m glad I am not too old to go on learning. God has given us a minister who has his own special ‘Sermon Illustrator’. Having preached on the fatherhood of God, and explaining how we have been adopted into his family through the sacrifice of his own Son Jesus, he thought he had closed the service, but no. His own little boy, released from sitting with his mother, ran joyously up the aisle, into his father’s arms crying ‘Daddy, my Daddy.’  

That, to me, was the most poignant part of the sermon.

There was another occasion. Again we were being taught of God’s forgiveness and how he has reconciled us to himself and once again, as soon as ‘Daddy’ had sat down there was his son on his lap. I guess he knew he had sometimes been naughty, but there was not a doubt in his heart that he was loved without any reservations.

‘Therefore we joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the atonement.’

This special ‘Sermon Illustrator’ has been teaching me that that is how God wants me to come to him. Whatever our past experience of fatherhood, and I know there are many who have suffered neglect, and abuse too, in so many ways, God is able to heal us and enable us to find perfect fatherhood in our God.

A friend, blessed with many children and grandchildren, was disturbed when he first heard of his son’s plan to adopt. It wouldn’t be the same.

No, it wasn’t the same. Even before he saw this special little girl he said he was falling in love with her in his heart.  Of all his very special grandchildren, he finds he has the closest relationship with this one, now a beautiful teen-ager. This to me is another wonderful sermon illustration of the miracle of our adoption into God’s family.

Perhaps it is because he was late in arriving in his parent’s hearts and home that my first little ‘Sermon Illustrator’ has such a very special joy in his relationship with them. And may it be so with us. Whatever we lacked as children, God can bring us healing and wholeness as we find our security in our relationship with our wonderful Heavenly Father.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

A Happy New Year

How are you feeling about facing this New Year? I recall a time when my heart was filled with dread.  Staying with a friend at a remote mission station  in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, we were invited to see in the New Year with  friends on the government station.

I was shortly to move to an even more remote place, and what to me was worse, there was no immediate prospect of having my own house. My heart filled with dread, if only we could have prayed as we entered the New Year, but this was far from their thoughts.

I should have remembered the wonderful words our then King, George VI, read to us in his Christmas  speech. It was 1939, and we were at war with Germany. –It was only recently that I heard that it was his daughter, now our Queen who had read it in the Times and passed it on to her father.

‘And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’ And he replied, ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.’  (M. Louis Haskins)
Looking back, I realise how foolish were my fears. As it turned out, I had the choice of two houses all to myself. I would have had more cause to be scared had I known what was going to happen; for the one single colleague had a breakdown and was sent home while the family on leave was unable to return as planned. But God was with me and gave me grace to face that lonely situation.

Before arriving in New Guinea He had reminded me that He was pledged to come with me and that I would be able to turn to him at all times, as to a friend alongside. And he was, and always is and will be faithful. * and that is a promise for you too. Read Hebrews 13:5-6.

I don’t worry now about seeing in the New Year, prayer or none. I go to bed when I am tired, knowing God will only give me one day at a time and each day will be filled with his blessings.

So to you my faithful Blog readers, I trust you too will be able to face the future with confidence and joy, your hand in God’s. Whatever the future holds, he will take us through and turn it all to good.

A happy New Year.