3 Things to Remember About the Father
Just a couple blocks from my house is an inlet of water that leads out into the Gulf of Mexico and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. If my schedule allows, I try to get out to that spot every Saturday morning with my paddleboard. Being in the beauty and peace of nature regenerates and refocuses my soul after a long week of work and responsibility.
The other Saturday I paddled far out on the water, my mind wrapped up in challenges I was facing. I was praying for guidance on how to navigate through them, but the prayers felt labored. Then, without warning, a group of dolphins crested the surface of the water about ten yards away from me. I often see dolphins on these excursions, and I must say, I never grow tired of it. This time, however, the dolphins began acting in a way I had never witnessed. Typically, at this time of day, they merely glide through the water looking for breakfast. This group, however, was playing. Again and again, they dove underwater, then surged up with a blast from their blowholes and splashed happily onto the surface. They seemed completely oblivious to me standing there, enjoying the show. Then, after about ten minutes, they disappeared under the water and swam away.
I put my paddle back in the water and resumed my journey, thanking God for the chance to see such an amazing display of His creativity and beauty. After a few moments of worship, I began to see a picture in my mind’s eye of Jesus standing in front of me and reaching out His hand to me. In my heart I heard Him saying, “This is how I want you to proceed through your life from this day forward. I have so much I want to show you. I am at work in your life and I will take you by the hand and show you if you would just trust Me. Please stop striving and pushing and just be a child of mine.”
This was just what my heart needed to hear. I could feel the weight and frustration that had been on my shoulders lift. For the rest of the journey, I felt hopeful, empowered, strengthened, and restored.
But the experience didn’t end there. As I came to the end of my trip, a specific piece of guidance for one of my current challenges suddenly dropped in my mind. Exactly as I had that “aha” moment, a fish jumped out of the water right next to me twice, as if celebrating with me!
What a moment I experienced with Jesus that morning. I discovered long ago that one of God’s favorite ways to speak to me is through nature. I’ve had many encounters with Him in the great outdoors, and they never cease surprise me and make me feel so completely known and loved. This particular experience showed me three things about our awesome God:
- God wants to relate to us as a Father.
Genesis 2:19-20 says:
Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.
I think it’s amazing how God took Adam into the wilderness to show Him the work of His hands. I can almost see the excitement and anticipation on the Father’s face as He guides His son through the forest, over the rocks, and through the rivers. He can’t wait to see Adam’s delight as he discovers what his Father made for him to enjoy.
I believe the Father wants to do the same with us. He wants to show us the world and its beauty and wonder and wildness—why? Because knowing the world in the context of relationship with Him is how we enjoy it—and Him.
- God knows us inside out, loves us deeply, and will always be with us.
Matthew 10:28, 30-31:
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
We worry so much about the minor details of life. We worry what people think of us. We worry that our goals will never be achieved. We forget that God is engaged in our lives and wants good things for us. He is fully present with us, and wants to help us grow and achieve our goals. If we have a relationship with Him and want to do His will, wouldn’t it make sense that maybe our goals are also His? And if our great God wants to accomplish something that is best for others and us, won’t He protect that?
- God will help us when we ask for it.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:7-8, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” As sons and daughters of a good Father, we get to ask Him for things with total confidence that His heart is to give us what we need. We don’t need to worry about praying the right prayer or micromanaging our motivations. All we need to do is go to Him. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and will show up in mighty ways if we just ask.
Our God is so involved in our lives. Are we watching and listening for His presence? Where does God speak to you? Wherever that is for you, just sit quietly with Him and communicate. Ask for His guidance. Ask for the tools and resources you need to accomplish what you’ve set out to do. Watch and listen. He wants to take you by the hand and show you all the beauty of His love.