Last night, while at the Michael W. Smith concert, the one guy from the opening band DOWNHERE - spoke about a song he wrote and how his father encouraged him, and affirmed him. Then Michael W. Smith spoke about how his dad always affirms his music, and can never figure out how every song of his doesn't go #1. Both men - tied it to how much more their Father God loves them. This on top of the book I am reading by Brennan Manning. I can not help but say "O Father - how much you want me to experience your love and to realize my position as your daughter!"
Today I finished chapter 3 called "Abba's Child" and I want to share some of what I read. Some of what touched my heart profoundly.
Manning tells this story (page 64) "Years ago, I related a story about a priest from Detroit named Edward Farrell who went on his two-week summer vacation to Ireland. His one living uncle was about to celebrate his eightieth birthday. On the great day, the priest and his uncle got up before dawn and dressed in silence. They took a walk along the shores of Lake Killarney and stopped to watch the sunrise. Standing side by side with not a word exchanged and staring straight at the rising sun. Suddenly the uncle turned and went skipping down the road. He was radiant, beaming, smiling from ear to ear.
His nephew said, "Uncle Seamus, you really look happy."
"I am, Lad."
"Want to tell me why?"
His eight-year-old uncle replied, "Yes, you see, my Abba is very fond of me."
Manning then (in his book) asks "do you honestly believe God likes you, not just loves you because theologically God has to love you? If you could answer with gut-level honest, "Oh, yes, my Abba is very fond of me," you would experience a serene compassion for yourself that approximates the meaning of tenderness."
Today I sit in that reality. That in spite of my stuff - in spite of my sometimes fickle approach to my walk with God - in spite of how I struggle to be more like Jesus in ways of forgiveness and extending grace... HE IS FOND OF ME!
In spite of it all. How amazing. God loves ME! He knows me intimately and STILL loves me.
He has forgiven me for everything - past, present and future and never lords my sin over me! Ever!! My name is written on the palm of his hand. The greatest expression of love - was Jesus going to the cross for my sin, and rising again for my guarantee for an eternity with him because I trust Him fully.
It is a lot to think of - how amazing this love is. I find it easier to imagine the love of my heavenly Father - because I know how my earthly father loved me. I also realize that what I may have experienced may or may not be the same as my siblings. I also realize that what I may have experienced may or may not be the same as other men and women - some who either didn't have a father, or didn't have a father who was a role model of love and acceptance to them. I do not take that for granted, believe me.
It is hard to put the love of our heavenly Father into words. It is hard to put into words the feeling that fills my soul because of knowing how "fond Abba is of me".... but I am wanting to bask in that today...
Later, I will go and stop in to see and hold my little grandson. I will watch as his parents dote on him, as they smile at his every squeal, and cuddle him close. I will smile as I watch his daddy smother him with kisses and make him smile in return. Everett KNOWS his Daddy... and he KNOWS his mommy. I hope that as he grows the love of his mommy and daddy will in turn help him to come to know and experience intimately the love of his Heavenly Father too.
That is my prayer for my grandson... for my family... for my friends... for those of you who read this but I may not know... and for me!
I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean.
O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
Is my Savior's love for me!
He took my sins and my sorrows,
He made them His very own;
He bore the burden to Calvary,
And suffered and died alone.
When with the ransomed in glory
His face I at last shall see,
’Twill be my joy through the ages
To sing of His love for me.
So as I close for this blog post today - it is my prayer for you dear reader, that you would truly experience how fond the Father is of you, dear child! It is my prayer...