Our son lives in Australia and our daughter recently travelled to New Zealand where she is planning to stay for an extended period. They are adults and my husband and I have freely released them, but nevertheless we are so grateful for the technology that enables us to keep in touch.
Though they are far away from home we hear from them often and we’re excited when they tell us how they are and what they’re doing. Because of the time difference we eagerly switch on the computer in the mornings to see if either of them have emailed overnight, and so that they can see we’re logged in if they’re waiting for us to get up so that they can call us! Of course, we’re delighted to hear their voices when they call, or to find a message sitting in our inbox waiting for us to open, especially when there are photographs attached, which more often than not have only been taken the previous day!
As parents we delight to hear from our children – whether they are telling us about a struggle they might be having or a joy they are experiencing. As I was thanking God recently for them, and telling Him how much it means to us that they choose to keep in touch, continuing to share their lives with us, He reminded me how much, as our heavenly Father, He delights to hear our from us as His children too. I remember when I first began to call God my Father, and to talk to Him as Father. There was such a joy in my heart in calling Him ‘Father’ that just for the joy of it, I kept saying, ‘Father! Father!’ over and over again, knowing He was hearing me.
But there was a time before that when I found that word difficult, when I misunderstood God’s Father heart for me and I didn’t call Him Father. In fact I didn’t really talk to Him at all. As I pondered this, I thought about how my husband and I would feel if our children had gone off to the other side of the world and never contacted us, ignored us completely – like the story Jesus told of the prodigal son. Of course, we don’t expect to hear from our children every day, or even necessarily every week, but if we never ever heard from them, how painful that would be!
Like the father in that story that so vividly allegorises the father heart of God, our heavenly Father patiently waits for us to come back to Him, to talk to Him and share our lives with Him. Our human nature can be such that we only talk to God when we’re going through a difficult time and we’re desperate for an answer or a breakthrough in our struggle. Sometimes it’s the busyness of life that somehow gets in the way of us conversing with Him, or perhaps we just have a distorted view of who God is, thinking He’s distant or disinterested, or doesn’t want to speak to us or will ask impossible things of us. There can be many things that hold us back from daily sharing our lives in prayer with our Father.
Nevertheless He waits to hear from us. Today is a good day to share with Him, in the reality of who He is as our Father, the one who delights in us (Zephaniah 3:17), in the reality of who we are as His children (1 John 3:1) and in the reality of whatever it is we are facing today. We will bring joy to His heart in doing so, and so often He gives back a whole new perspective on the issue we’re facing.
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.
Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.
Joseph Scriven, 1855