Yesterday’s blog was about paying attention to God or "practicing the presence of God"! I continued to peruse this concept throughout the day. What does it mean to pay attention? I would love to be able to throw that question out to all of you and brainstorm some answers.
One thought I had is that we pay attention to what we love! I love my husband; my husband loves me! We have each other’s attention. It is not work for me nor is it work for him. It is a very natural thing that comes out of our love for each other. For instance, if my phone rings and I see that it is him calling, I will drop all else to respond. I know that he does the same with me.
Now think of that in the context of our Lord. Does He have our attention like that? We have his attention like that although most of us remain pretty unaware of that truth. And Truth it is!
(Ps.139:17,18) “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.” This entire psalm has been a life changing one for me and many others with whom I have shared its contents.
Really! God? the God of the whole universe, who created heaven and earth and all that is within them…He is constantly thinking of me? In a positive way? Astounding! How long has it been since you’ve been to the beach and counted the grains of sand? These good thoughts our heavenly Father has toward us are more in number than all the grains of sand on the earth. Selah..stop and think calmly about that!!!
Oh, I know some of us have been taught that God is everywhere and He sees everything we do and, therefore, we better not pout and we better not cry because He won’t like us if we act like that. I know the song is about Santa but some people even have that mixed up, right? To them, prayer is reciting their wish list or making up a todo list for God. What’s sad about that is then we don’t understand why those prayers don’t get answered.
More people have the concept of God as a “gotcha god” than you would imagine. This idea is fostered in order to cause people to be good, or else. And people do fear Him, but they do not love Him. Who could love a parent who was constantly watching every move looking for an opportunity to hit the child over the head with a two by four? Not me! And not many of you either.
When I worked at a treatment center for depression and anxiety, my duty was to teach about “distorted views of God.” I loved that job. I would tell people they ought to fire such a God and get a new one because their idea of God was not the God that Jesus came to reveal at all. When they wrote a job description of the God they wanted it was more like the true God of the bible! I saw many people set free in amazing ways.
Imagine with me for a moment a parent who is constantly thinking of the little one that they love so that they can raise it up to be the very best person possible. Can you imagine that same parent saying something like, “OK, go on and put your hand on that stove and then you will learn a lesson not to touch the stove”? No, and neither can any other person who has been raised by a loving parent.
Our heavenly Father is a good parent to His children! (Matthew 7:7-11) He is not a Father that would give a serpent to a child who asks for a fish, or stones to one who needs bread. He is One who gives good things to those who ask Him! He is the same Father to us that He was to Jesus. (John 20:17) His heart’s desire is for us to be children to Him as Jesus was, totally dependent! Who wouldn’t do that if we knew Him as He really is? No one!
It is our enemy, the Devil, who tells such lies about God and, I believe, even inspires the kind of parenting that keeps people from being able to relate to God as a good and loving Father. (John 8:41-44) He is a liar and the father of lies. It grieves me to hear the kind of thoughts that he has been able to sow in the hearts of people about our one true God!
So let me ask you today…what is your view of the heavenly Father? Unless you have done some work in the area of healing, it is not far from the parents who raised you. If they were loving and devoted, then you see God in this way. If they were anything but that, from cold and distant to harsh and tyrannical, then your way of relating to God will be similar to your response to them. Hear me, I am not blaming; I am trying to explain how this happens.
May I encourage you to read the gospel of John with an eye toward this thought…what kind of a Father was God to Jesus? Jesus said that He came to reveal the real Father to us. (John 14:7-9) He said if we knew that Father, we could love Him and it would be a joy to practice the presence of such a loving Father. We would bound boldly into His throne room and jump up into His lap and look up into His face to receive His life changing look of love!
|May the Son of God be shining on you today!|