Many of you may be wondering about the name change of the blog and what I mean when I talk about the Father's love. We are all called to love so how is this love any different than what we already know, or is it? Even as I write this, I have had to think through some of these questions and reconsider what I believe this love to be. I would like to share with you a couple of my recent thoughts and observations about this and tell you how it impacts the work I am involved in here in Guatemala.
We have had 2 teams already this year but neither of them has done work that really involved me. I drove them both around but they were not doing the types of work that I normally am involved in. Our first team was a medical team from Utah. They had a 4 day clinic in Membrillal. Although I have seen many Doctors on TV and I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Select, I am not really qualified to practice medicine.I spent much of this week helping do crafts with the kids. I have to admit that I feel almost as unqualified for crafts as I am for medicine. Fortunately, God knows my heart and knows that being with the kids is enough to bring me joy and it shows them that they are worth the attention.
If I was not qualified for the medical clinic, I had even less to offer for the following team. A group of women from British Columbia came to hold forums on violence against women and children, sexual abuse and to share information with mothers in the schools about women's health issues. I had little to offer for these 7 days. Fortunately, that opened up a lot of free time for me. I did some electrical work at both schools but still had many hours to fill. God had plans for that time and He opened my eyes to help me see His heart for us a little more clearly.
One morning in Membrillal the kid's were playing and they had already warn me out with their calls to be picked up. They like to hang from my forearm and also they like for me to hang them up on the playground equipment so they can see how long they can stay up before they fall. After lifting 25 to 30 kids numerous times, my arms were spent. I could not lift the small children anymore, let alone the older ones. I went to sit down for a couple of minutes and recoup a little. While I was sitting there many of the kids crowded around me. That is not at all uncommon but on boy who is in 4th grade I think came and sat down next to me. After about 2 minutes, he leaned over and was half laying on me. It was a little awkward but then I felt like God just prompted me to pray for him. So as he sat there calmly, I prayed that he would know the love of his true Father and that he would experience His presence in his life. God opened my eyes to His heart for the boy, for me and for humanity.
God loves us as a perfect Father. He knows the reasons that we were each created. He knows and cares about the smallest details of our lives. He is working behind the scenes to draw us into His will and to release us into our destiny. He desires that each of us would know the depths of His love and walk in it. He desires the same fellowship with each of us that Adam and Eve had in the Garden. He wants us to know the depth of His love. He wants to reveal what an extravagant gift of life the cross was. The Father wants us to return His love as an expression of a heart sold out to Him. He wants us to trust and obey Him in confidence that He is working out everything in out lives for our benefit, even when we see difficulties and want to run. The Father's heart is a heart that wants us to freely return His love. He finds joy in our responses to His invitation. He does not desire to take control from us but He does desire that we would submit ourselves to His leading and prompting. The Father's heart is a heart enamored with His children and thrilled when they respond to His affection.
So often I want to tell kids to listen to me and do things exactly as I say. I want them to obey because I believe my way is the best. I feel like I can see what is ahead for them if they do not listen. I really want to control their lives. That is not the Father's way. He draws us to Himself. He tells us His desire. He lets us know that there are consequences to disobedience but He does not force us into a begrudging obedience. Jer 31 and Zeph 3:15-17 show the Father's heart toward us. It shows Him allowing the rebellion and the consequences to play out. At the same time it shows the loving Father eager to draw His children back to Himself and restore them. The story Jesus told of the prodigal is another great insight into this remarkable, selfless love of the Father.
As I ponder and pray about these things, I realize that the love of the Father frees us to become who He created us to be. It does not hold us in bondage or tie us to His will. It allows us to walk the path we choose while always waiting to draw us to Himself. My desire is that I would learn more daily how to direct my will towards walking in this love and then to encourage others to do the same.