There was never point in hiding it. Everyone knew it. I grew up a “daddy’s girl.” When I was a little girl, my dad was the music director at church. While I don’t remember the incident, my parents have told me that on one Sunday I could not find the correct page in my hymn book so I walked right up on the stage and wanted my dad to find the page for me. He quickly handed me his book and took mine and sent me back to my seat. Amidst the quiet snickers of the church members, I turned and proudly smiled while going back to my seat. I needed help and I went to the person I knew would help me.
Because of my childhood it is easy for me to see God as a loving, faithful, caring Father who will meet my every need. Just as I ran to my dad when I needed help, I can also run to my heavenly Father. God is always there with his arms wide open, ready to catch me. Ready to meet my needs. Ready to comfort me. Ready to give good gifts. In Matthew 7:11, Jesus taught, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifs to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” The greatest gift God gave us was allowing Jesus to die for us so that as we come to Him in repentance, believing by faith we become a child of God, giving us the right to call Him Father!
When we know we can trust God with every aspect of our lives, we know we can run to him as often as we need to, regardless of the time of day or night, and no matter how big or small our need or problem is. Why, then, do we not have a desire to spend time with him? For many Christians we have been taught that a daily devotion is part of the Christian lifestyle but it isn’t something we truly look forward to doing. It’s an expectation. It isn’t something we look forward to or count down the hours and minutes until our next encounter with God. Instead of anticipating spending time with our heavenly Father, we too often either skim through a passage so we can put the check in the box for today’s reading or don’t do it at all. Some of us mean to get around to it, but our priorities are out of order and we save the last few minutes of the day to quickly read a passage of scripture so we can avoid the guilt feeling of not doing it.
Isn’t it a shame that many of us get more excited about a sports team than we do spending time with our heavenly Father? We will cheer on our team but only pray when we’re in some crisis mess that we need a miracle to get out of. Otherwise, we reserve a little time for God on Sunday and leave Him behind inside the church as we exit and go on with our lives.
In Matthew 22:37-38 we read what Jesus said is the first and greatest commandment: “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.” When we love God this way, the natural outcome is to run to Him. We make Him a part of every moment of our day. We go through life with the attitude of prayer, in constant communication with Him. We can’t wait for those times that we can spend with Him, alone in intimate prayer and combing through His Word longing for Him to speak to us.
If God, the creator of the universe, poured out His extravagant, unending love on us so that “even while we are yet sinners, Christ died for us,” then our natural reaction would be to long for the moments we can spend with Him. Our love returned to Him would be expressed in our everyday lives. In the way we speak to others. In the way we see others who are different than us. In the way we interact with our spouses and children. In how we treat the girl ringing up our groceries. In the way we respond to the driver that cut us off in rush hour traffic. In the way we give respect to our bosses. In the way we pray for our pastors. In the way we forgive a family member who hurt us. Because God was so lavish in His love for us that he sent his only begotten Son to die for us; how, then, can we not love others so extravagantly and lavishly as God loves us?
There is no other person that deserves our love and devotion more than God and yet so many times He gets nothing more than our leftovers. The more I realize just how much God loves someone like me…with all my faults….with all my mess-ups…with all my stubbornness…the more I grow to love Him even more. The more I love Him, the more time I want to spend with Him. The more time I spend with Him, the more I learn about how much He loves me. If God can love even one like me so unconditionally, how can I not love Him in return and want to spend time with Him?