Sunday, August 7, 2016

Never Alone

 Today is my dad's 70th birthday. Doesn't look it does he? I will never love and respect any man more than I do my father. Here's a little story that shows why.

I remember the day my little boy brain bonded with my dad...permanently. I was at Foothills Camp in Alberta with my family for Camp Meeting. I must have been 8 or so. I don't remember having many friends as a kid. I've always been introverted and found it difficult making friends all the way up until high school. But this camp meeting I was hoping to make some new friends.

During the week they were having an exciting opportunity for this. They were taking a bus load of kids to a nearby lake to go water skiing and tubing. I was excited and nervous at the same time. 

When the time came, I grabbed my swimming trunks, my towel and my sunscreen and set off for the meeting area where the bus was going to pick us up. It took me a few minutes for my little legs to carry me there, my little heart pounding with anticipation and nervousness. 

However when I got there there was no bus. 
So I waited. 
And I waited. 
But I soon realized I had missed the bus. 

I'll never forget the total crushing of my spirit that I felt that day. It was more than the disappointment of missing out on the opportunity. I'd met a few kids who knew I was coming. But nobody told the bus driver to wait or came to grab me. Maybe not a realistic expectation, but it was another reminder of my loneliness. 

So trudged back to our camper. Mum was at a meeting, so through tears I explained what happened to my dad. He consoled me, but he did more than that. 

He didn't know where the bus had gone, but not far from Foothills there's a place called Red Lodge Provincial Park. So my dad told me to get my trunks, my towel and my sunscreen. We went and found a nice bit of beach along the river and I spent the afternoon playing in water and the sand. It wasn't the original plan, but I was no longer alone. I was with my dad. 

It was a profound experience for my little mind. I had gone from feeling abandoned to feeling accepted and "with" someone. 

To be with my dad when others "abandoned" me left me with a deep abiding sense of security in my Father's love. I realized that with his love in my life, I was never alone. He's been my most trusted counsellor and friend ever since. 

Jesus had an even deeper connection with His Father than I ever will have with my earthly Father. But there came a day where the Heavenly Father had to leave His Son alone, on the cross. And He did it, so that death could finally be conquered and all of us could claim with total confidence, that even if our earthly father can't be with us, because of Jesus, we will never be alone. God is always with us. 

Who's brought security to your life through their love? Thank them today. 😀

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Root of Love

This is Mason my nephew. He's taught me so much about love. I remember the first time I held him. I'm not his dad, but even as an uncle I was overwhelmed by a pure sense of love, of devotion and care for this little life. I wanted to be a better man, for his sake. 
But why? What brings that out?
I didn't create him. He'd done nothing for me. But here I was finding new depths of desire to care for and mentor and protect this little life. 
Some of it I chalk up to him being simply born into my family. He's one of us now. But I think there's a deeper part connected to it. I believe we've been designed to love. And a child in our family brings it out in the strongest sense possible. I believe this because I see how God has treated me, His child. He did not directly create me. But I'm born into His family. And as I've gotten to know God and understand the terrible price Jesus paid so I could be saved from myself, I see the same love (in part) in my own heart for Mason. What parent or uncle wouldn't give up their life for their beloved? 

So I believe the love I have for Mason is a well spring that comes from God. I recognize it because I've received it. Maybe you will too!

““How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboyim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused.” - God anguished over diobedient, rebellious children. 
Hosea 11:8 NIV

““Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Jesus anguished over rejection by those He came to save. 
Matthew 23:37 NIV

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8 NIV