About a week ago, I returned from a visit to my folks. The family here survived, but I keep getting comments from the young one that sound something like, “You mean, when you left us?” Yes, dear one, when I left you. For four whole days.
The reason for this particular visit was because my mom is in the hospital and I simply couldn’t stay away any longer. Her in/out surgery has turned into what looks like a month-long-plus-some stay. Things didn’t go as planned, but I figure her life was probably saved. At the very least, she was spared from quite a bit more pain than what she is experiencing now.
While there, I got to spend a good deal of time with my dad. That hasn’t happened in … well, probably never—at least not the amount of time we had those four days. While I have always loved and admired my father, I don’t think I’ve appreciated him as much as I should. In my mind, I remember a man who gave hugs, provided for us, and loved us, but was maybe a little too stern and a bit too literal for my taste. He has mellowed quite a bit over the years.
While walking with him places, I experienced a few of moments of something I never had before — he kept his steady pace, while I saw and felt myself as a young child skipping and trying to keep up, feeling so free next to him. At my age, I was really caught off guard by this sensation. I believe it was a picture to show me that if my father is there, he will take care of all that needs to be done. I have been very blessed to have an earthly father that I can trust beyond measure. I’ve been through enough with that man to know that if he says something, he means it. If he’s there, he will take care of whatever needs to be taken care of, no matter what the cost to his needs or desires.
I wish I trusted my heavenly Father in the same way. I should by now, you know, but life has not been easy the last few years and I lose my way. Somehow the lies sneak in and wreak havoc with my thoughts. He loves you, but He doesn’t love you as much as those people over there. Even though Jesus died for you, you’re not really that special — I mean, seriously, look at all that has gone wrong. If He loved you, then certainly He would have protected you from… . It goes on and on. Oh, where is my confidence in the word of my Father? Where is the knowledge that if He says it, it is?
So with fresh eyes, I am reminded that my dad has always been a man of incredible integrity. While annoying at times during my youth, this trait of his has provided me with a great deal of security. He is also a man who undeniably loves his wife. Tears come to my eyes whenever I think of it. Mom is in good hands with Dad taking care of her. He will do what is required even at great cost to himself, because that is who he is and that is how much he loves her.
I am trying to apply this thinking to our heavenly Father “who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) Why would he give up His Son for the likes of me? Who can fathom that? Could it be because that is who He is and that is how much He loves me? you? With this knowledge, I hope to believe it enough to become that child skipping next to Him, feeling free, knowing that no matter what, He is there and I am in good hands.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)