Friday, June 17, 2016

Trusting Daddy

Dad, with his three daughters, a.k.a. "fencing helpers."
I grew up on a dairy farm, and as a kid, we often had to go out and fix the fence that held the cows in. We used barbed wire - four strands attached to fence posts every few feet.

It wasn't uncommon for Dad to ask us kids, "want to go fencing?" We were expected to say "yes," and we always did.

Dad had an old manure spreader that he used strictly for fencing. It was a rusty old contraption that he pulled behind an old "Model A John Deere" tractor. The spreader contained rolls of wire, a wire stretcher, fencing staples, clips, posts, post-hole digger, and post maul.

Dad drove the tractor and us kids perched on the sides of the manure spreader, our bony little backsides bumping along as Dad drove over the rough ground.

When we got to a place that needed repair, Dad would pull over and us kids would pile out of the spreader to help. Sometimes we were replacing staples that had fallen out. Sometimes we had to splice wire or fix gates. Other times, we had to replace a post - one of my most vivid fencing memories.

Usually when Dad replaced a post, he used a metal one. Quite often, the metal was replacing a wood post that had rotted. My job was to hold the post while Dad pounded it in.

The posts were pretty tall and my Dad was pretty short, so he would stand in the spreader, one foot down in the spreader, and the other one up on the side. I would stand down on the ground, holding the post in position. The post maul was 20 pounds. Dad would swing it in a big arc, down, around, up over his head and then striking the post with a metallic ring. He would swing, and he would swing, and he would swing, the post inching down a little further into the ground with each strike.

I stood, a puny little kid, with a 20-pound hammer swinging right over my head. The post maul would hit that post and the reverberations traveled up my bony arms as I held on, keeping the post straight.

Was I scared? Well, maybe a little. If he missed, that 20 pound hammer would have come down on my puny little girl arms, probably shattering them. But he never missed. Never.

I could trust him. And trust him, I did.

It's that same kind of child-like trust that God looks for in us - His children. "Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven." [Matthew 18:2-4 NLT]

He craves that same kind of closeness and blind trust with us that a child has for his or her Daddy.

Now, as an adult, I don't know if I could bear to watch a grown man swinging a 20-pound hammer over his kid's head. I'd probably do some kind of intervention. But that kind of trust - the trust I had in my Dad when I was a child - is what our heavenly Father (Heavenly Daddy)
wants from us.

Can we trust our Heavenly Father? Absolutely. Even when it feels like life is pounding us down, He's right beside us, giving us strength, giving us peace, giving us hope.

Trusting Daddy is a good place to be.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Love. Love. Love.

"Love, love, love," sang the Beatles. "All you need is love."[1] The song's  message is deceptively simple.

Is that all we really need? Surely there's  more to it than that.

I think we all recognize the need to be loved; it is one of the most basic, and deepest of human desires. You can have virtually everything in life, but if you don't have love, what good is it? So that part of the Beatle's song is true.  

But I think we need to differentiate something here. There is human love, and then there is God love. 

Most of us have experienced human love at some time in our lives, whether the love of a parent, a friend, or a spouse. Human love is a beautiful thing, but it can fail. Just look at all the marriages that end in divorce. 

That's where the Beatles song is deceptive. There's a little more to it than just needing love. Human love can fail, and when it does, it hurts. Real bad.

While human love can be fragile, God's love is not. In fact, God doesn't just love. He IS Love. (1 John 4:8)

After the last supper, Jesus poured out his heart to his disciples. He told them that "greater love has no man than this, that a man lays down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) Jesus was speaking of himself. He was about to lay down his life for his friends, his twelve disciples, as well as for his future friends - those who would come to know and love him, decades and even centuries after his death on the cross.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV)

You might think, he was God! God can do anything. It was easy for him to die. But let's not forget, he was God in a man's body. A body like yours. Like mine. And he laid it down. He committed the ultimate act of sacrifice. The ultimate act of love and redemption. 

If you want to know real love, turn your eyes to Jesus. His eyes are on you, and His arms are open.

1. The Beatles, 1967. "All You Need is Love."

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