Thursday, May 23, 2013


He is a Father who has loved His children with perfect gentleness and patience. He is a Father who has demonstrated to His own that He will be forever inclined to help. He is a Father who has never turned His face from any of His children, except for the One who love compelled Him to forsake. He is a Father whose arms are strong and whose heart is compassionate.

In Christ and through faith, countless daughters and sons have been adopted and are secure.

I’m safe in His love and yet, so often, when I approach my Father in prayer, it is with a timidity not matching my identity as His daughter. At times it’s as though I pray with the hope of arriving at a place, after I've prayed, of belonging, of safety. Somehow, even though I have a theological understanding of adoption through Christ’s blood, it fails to translate into a prayer life where I enter into God’s presence utterly sure of a Father’s love.

In his enduring book on prayer, Andrew Murray writes this:
We need to get in at the tenderness and helpfulness which lie in these words, and to rest upon it—your Father. Speak them over to yourself until something of the wonderful truth is felt by us. It means that I am bound to God by the closest and tenderest relationship; that I have a right to His love and His power and His blessing, such as nothing else could give me. O the boldness with which we can draw near! O the great things we have a right to ask for! Your Father. It means that all His infinite love and patience and wisdom bend over me to help me.
Every parent has experienced that moment when a dirty, grimy-faced child runs towards us for a kiss, and our eyes are blind to the gunk and leftover snack-crumbs and unidentified gooey debris, and all we see are the sparkling eyes of our child. We're enchanted, and we sweep them up and hold them tight.

A few days back I had a heightened version of this with my 18-month-old Ella. Her toddler frame came running, careening, into the room, and she ran straight towards me with her arms outstretched, saying, “Hug! Hug!” Any objective adult would have rightly seen a drooly, dirty, stinky baby and would have deftly veered out of the line of contact while reaching for a wet-wipe. If it was someone else’s kid, that’s what I would have done. But in that moment, all I could see was this little girl who was mine who I fiercely loved, who belonged to me. She was not just any girl, she was my girl. My intense love for my children, in so many of the both good and challenging moments of their lives, is not because they are so clever or clean or perfect. My love for them, ultimately, is because they are my precious children.

Good parents love their children. It’s just what they do. And this, only earthly parents. How much more so Him, the Father above?

The perfect, unconditional love of the Father, not because of children so holy, wise or clean—for who is righteous?—but because of His character. What grace that it’s not about the character of the children, but about the character of the Father.

We belong to Him. We are His daughters, His sons. Adopted. Forever His.

And so when we go to him dirty, stained, covered in filth, awkward, clumsy, stupid, reeking of the stench of sin, He sees His beloved child. In Christ, we’re already eternally cleansed, purified, and therefore need not attempt the futile task of cleaning ourselves up before we approach Him in prayer.

Mercifully, our Father’s love for us is not about us, nor is it contingent upon us. It's about Him.