Picture a father, lovingly devoted to his children, seated by his window, waiting. He waits and waits, his eyes gazing through glass which at times shines brilliantly as the golden sun rises and falls, and at other times glows silver gray, from the rainwater streaming down its surface. Like the window pane, the father’s eyes also seem to shine with eager anticipation at times, a golden overflow of joy ready to be unleashed at a moment’s notice. But sometimes the light in his eyes fades as silver gray tears stream down his face.
What does he await? What does he look for? Why does he continue, day after day, to gaze out the window? He waits on his children to come home. He waits for more than a brief appearing with no agenda other than to ask for money. He longs for more than arms that are ready to greedily grab up but never eager to embrace. So he waits.
And who is this lonely father? Do any of us know him? He is our Great Father and He longs for us to come to Him, ready to embrace Him with no agenda other than to know Him and see His face, and to be embraced by Him with no other preoccupation crowding out our delight in His love for us.
Beside Him stands the Son, the One Who came to bridge a gap made wide by our rebel hearts and the pride that runs deep in us like a self-inflicted wound that never quite heals. He too bears wounds, but these were inflicted by our hands, hands driven by hate and jealousy. Yet His wounds have healed, covered by the balm of forgiveness, leaving behind only scars that tell the tale of how unearned hatred was met with an unconquerable grace. This Son, Who bore upon Himself the judgment earned by our repeated rejections, stands with the same eager desire mixed with the same silver-gray sorrow that paints the face of the Father.
Why must He wait? Why do we not rush right home to sit at His feet, drinking deep from the fountain of fellowship? Because we are too easily lured into the quagmires of busyness and burdens imposed upon us by a world that hates Him. We rush from the Father’s presence, and run amuck into pools of anxiety because we do not quite believe that God does indeed love us. We run from His loving embrace and dart into the traffic of ideas and philosophies that will run us over the moment our guard is let down. The affection of our hearts is too easily tantalized and led away from the only One Who can really meet all our needs. So we trudge our way into fearsome desert valleys littered with bones, the skeletal remains of the “might have beens” of others who have tried to live life apart from God.
Christians have great enemies. Chief among them are apathy and distraction. Too often we “settle for less” than we could have. But whether we hunger for more than we have, God Himself hungers for more. He yearns for our devotion, desires our affection, and longs for us to “seek Him with all our hearts” (see Jeremiah 29:13).
But unlike us, God does not “settle for less”. Although we may content ourselves with spiritually plastic alternatives to God’s presence in our lives, He will not leave well enough alone but will often take from our clutching fingers the things that compete for His place of preeminence in our lives. And while we may, in spiritual childishness, complain about it, I for one am glad that He does so. Why would I want something inferior to the great and glorious reality of His love? How could I possibly settle for less than what treasure in Him can be mine if I’ll simply delight myself in Him?
And what about you? Are you cold? Have you forgotten how great and good is the One Who waits for you? Can you not see Him even now, tears of joy and tears of sorrow running alternately down His face as you wander in and out of His presence?
What do you allow to compete with His position of being “first place” in your life? Have you relinquished control of your life to your circumstances allowing your call to come into His presence be subservient to the priorities and pressures that the world throws your way? If so, you’re the only one who can make the choices necessary to change your predicament. Don’t be afraid to repent and return to Him. You’ll find that He’s not going to hold over your head your failings and flaws, but will sweep you up into His arms as well as His glorious will for your life!
Don’t delay your return to Him! Don’t hold back either! Return to Him! Reprioritize your life around Him! If something comes up that competes for your attention and time, simply tell that something, “No!” and decide that you can do without it for the sake of the One you can’t do without!
Don’t make the Father wait any longer for you to come into His presence. Don’t treat the Son’s gift of Himself for your sake as if He were nothing. Don’t ignore God’s Spirit’s voice inviting you to go deeper into the spiritual life for which you were created. And don’t be afraid, wondering about how you’re going to make it, or about what others will think of you. God assures you that He’ll see to it, that as you obediently trust and obey Him, your needs will be met. After all, God is great and God is good.
“Seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:31-32 ESV).
(Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 24 ½ years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com.” Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)