There’s a part of me that really doesn’t like winter: the short days, the wet, the cold, the mud underfoot, the bare trees – I could go on, but let’s stop there, at the trees. Whilst every tree looks glorious in spring with all the new growth and fresh green leaves and blossom, in summer when they are at their fullest and richest, and in autumn when they change colour to reds, yellows and golds, in winter they still have a beauty of their own, albeit perhaps a less obvious one. Without their leaves, the shape of each tree becomes clear and one type can be distinguished from another simply by its outline. But even then, no two trees look alike, each one’s different and beautiful in its own way.
Over the years I’ve been involved in ministry, it’s become clear that one of our greatest problems in our walk with the Lord is not knowing who we really are in Him. We’ve lost our sense of identity. Recently I was speaking with a lady who’d come to recognise that what she thought were her problems were really rooted in a lack of knowing who she was and her identity. How wonderful that, she was, at last, coming to the realisation of how very precious she was as an individual to our heavenly Father.
Our God doesn’t make clones. He’s a wonderful Creator who makes individuals, each one different from the other, but all infinitely precious and special to Him. It’s amazing to read that He’s ‘chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world’ (Ephesians 1:4), that He watched over us as we were growing in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13b) and that He has a plan and purpose for every one of us to fulfil that nobody else can do as well as we can.
I well remember when our younger daughter was just about to embark on her gap year and travel to India on her own, and I, as a mum, was somewhat anxious for her. The Lord spoke so clearly to me. He asked me, “Do you trust me to look after Becky in India?” How could I possible say no?) He went on, “She will be perfectly safe, I have a job for her to do.” She was safe too, even on a long train journey from the north east of that massive country to the central south – a journey of some twenty-four hours. Naturally we covered that journey in prayer and when she phoned us – no mobiles in those days! – to say that she’d arrived safely, she told us that there was one other white person in the compartment with her, a man who told her he was going to work for a Christian organisation just near the place she was going to.
Although she was there for a number of weeks, she never saw that man again, and to this day I’m convinced that the Lord sent an angel to look after her, because she’s precious and special to Him. I’m not sure whether she’s completed the job the Lord created her specially to do, but she’s a doctor, much loved by her patients, so maybe that’s it, but He knows.
That’s our loving heavenly ‘Dad’, who cares for each one of us as precious, unique individuals, and who rushes to greet us when we come home to Him, exhausted, dirty and ragged, who flings His cloak around us to cover our dirt, who gives us shoes to show we belong to the family (slaves didn’t wear shoes), who gives us the family ring as a sign of our identity in Him, and throws a massive party to celebrate our homecoming! (Luke 15 – my version!)
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing love for me. I know in my head that You love me, but I sometimes struggle to believe it in my heart. Please allow the truth of Your love to penetrate the core of my being. Thank You that You have a plan for my life and I pray that You will guide me and show me how to fulfil that plan. Thank You that, above all, You long to have a relationship with me. I love and worship You, Father. Amen.
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