So much of a person’s identity comes as a direct result of what they experienced relationally with their father - or not. In my own life, this has held true. What I have learned is that there is no perfect father - save One. And that I always have a choice as to how I will respond to the way my earthly father fathered me - or didn’t. I wasted far too much time fretting over the way my earthly father related to me when I was growing up but was rescued from the futility of such stinking thinking in this area by the Truth of my heavenly Father and the way He relates to me.
Suffice it to say, when God began to reveal His Father heart to me, my entire attitude changed toward my earthly father…so much so that my dad worked for me and with me in my ministry for the last 25 years of his life. God is Redeemer and He wastes nothing!
To help illustrate the Father’s love for us, I’d like to share with you the story behind my song, I Will Run to the Arms of My Father, from the recording Days of Awe. I received this particular song on March 9, 2012.
I was fortunate enough to attend and minister at a conference - Legacy 2012 - in Houston, Texas honoring one of my fathers in the faith, Jack Taylor. One of the speakers was Bill Johnson, pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, CA. He spoke of the Kingdom of God in his first session and how we must come to the Father in the attitude of little children. He told a story of God gracing his own life with evidence of His power and love in a very specific and child-like way.
One day, sitting by a lake, he began throwing small pebbles into the water. As he did so, the small fish began to eat them and spit them back out, thinking they were small bugs. Bill wondered to himself as a bee flew into his sight, "I wonder if a fish would eat a bee." At that very moment, the bee promptly fell into the water - and a fish ate him! Bill was overwhelmed with God's love and power in that instant. His heavenly Father was so intimate with him that He answered a simple thought Bill had thought to himself!
As soon as Bill told this story, I was reminded of how many times I have had similar occurrences - and how I take those moments as little surprises of God's love for me and presence with me. I missed Bill's next two sessions because I was so consumed with receiving this song.
I found a piano and poured my heart into this. This is one of my all-time favorite songs God has given me. Yes, I know that 1 Corinthians 13:11 says, “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” But we must also remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 18:3. He said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” So how can both be true?
I believe that as I mature in Jesus, I put away childish self-focused attitudes and replace them with focus on God and others…but I do that with a child-like sense of wonder. I still love to star-gaze and wonder at the immensity of God. I still love to look for shapes in clouds with a child-like wonder at God’s creative power. I still revel in child-like wonder at the way God so wonderfully intervenes in precious moments of surprise in my life. Like a child I love God just for Who He is…and like a child, I walk in a heart of gratitude for the joy of knowing He is simply with me. Basically, I am a man who walks in maturity of faith with a child-like attitude and sense of adventure! Life with Jesus IS an adventure and not a drudgery to be endured.
Let’s think about this. We make life far too complicated. When is the last time you stopped and put down that cell phone and simply waited on God like a child waits on a parent to come home? We must remember why we were created in the first place: to have fellowship with God. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” That’s Ephesian 2:10. Simply put, when was the last time you simply came to father as a son or daughter and said, “Father, I need to be with You?”
A lost child cries out for and runs toward their father. Our Father is always waiting to pick us up and receives us gladly as He lifts us joyfully into the air. Like a child, we trust Him to throw us high and catch us, as we squeal with delight in that moment. Being a good Father, He cannot get enough of us and thoroughly enjoys just being with us…laughing with us…crying with us…dreaming with us.
He loves with love that will not let us go. He loves us in the fiery times and through the stormy times and His love is mighty and unending…like a river that is clear and deep and fun and refreshing…a river of love where we can literally get lost in a good way because we get lost in His all-encompassing, healing embrace of love.
I love just being with my own children and I love blessing them - and I am an earthly father - so how much more does our Father desire to just be with us and to enjoy OUR presence? Think about Whose you are and who you are as you listen this song...and enjoy the Kingdom you are a citizen of! To listen to the song I Will Run to the Arms of My Father, click on the link provided below.
[Jesus said], "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." And He took them in His arms and began to bless them, laying His hands on them. Mark 10:14-16 NASB