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My daughter has a Sunday afternoon routine. After church clothes are changed into play clothes and lunch is eaten, I know where to find her– sitting with her daddy.
Neil has a hectic work schedule and doesn’t get to spend much time at home during Kailey’s ‘awake’ hours. But she knows that on Sunday afternoons, Daddy is home. And when Daddy is home, she is determined to be right by his side.
He is usually watching sports. Basketball, football…whatever the season may be. She doesn’t care what is on the television. She is not there for the entertainment. She is there just to be near him. Sometimes she cuddles up to his side, his arm around her. Sometimes she plops herself right onto his lap, laying her head back against his chest. And she stays there, quietly talking to him for a while.
Under normal circumstances, Kailey does not stay still or quiet for very long. She dances around the house, runs from room to room in search of a toy or her brothers. I often hear her singing made-up songs all over the house and her favorite demand is come play with me! She likes to be in motion, actively doing something. But, on these Sunday afternoons, she is still. And, usually, it is not long before her eyes close and she drifts off to sleep. When she wakes up, she is smiling – “I took a nap with Daddy!”- and ready for action again.
She couldn’t put all of this into words, of course, but her actions tell me how she feels – safe, secure, cherished. She knows, without doubt, that she is welcome to sit by his side. Rest comes naturally and easily when she is in her daddy’s arms. He doesn’t have to talk or sing or play…he is there and that is all she really needs in those moments. She adores this man who is delighted by her presence, who loves her unconditionally. Being close to him is enough to make her content…and this thrills her daddy to no end. He loves being loved by her.
Words weren’t coming so easily this morning when I tried to pray. All of my thoughts were running, too loudly, around in my head. And this picture of Kailey resting by Neil’s side popped into my head. I realized – that’s what I need…to be still and simply lean into my Father’s presence…because being in His presence is enough to bring peace to my heart and to my scattered, frantic mind.
I don’t know what your relationship with your own father was like. But we all share a Heavenly Father who is always, always available and inviting us to be near Him. We are welcomed and wanted…we are treasured by Him. He knows us, knows us as we really are, and still calls us His own. So we don’t have to wear a pretense, we don’t have to act a certain way, we don’t have to do a song or dance to impress Him…we come to Him empty-handed and we are wholly loved. It is His love that brings us close to Him. It is His mercy that brings us into His presence. We are free to simply come and sit before His throne of grace, to know that He is there and (this ever-amazes me!) He is delighted by us. I think our Father’s heart is thrilled when we can come to Him, free of expectation, just because we want to be near Him…because we want to adore Him, to honor His glory, to delight in His beauty. To love Him because He first loved us.
And if problems and worries are a weight on your mind? If your too-loud thoughts are an obstacle? He says – give those to Me. I am taking care of you. Rest in Me.
We are all usually in constant motion. Working, cleaning, shopping, playing – it seems like there is always something to do these days. But Kailey has the right idea. As soon as she can, she runs to her daddy’s side.
We have to make time to run into our Father’s presence and to stay there, as close as we can get to His heart.
In this quiet place, there is time to simply love Him and be loved by Him. There, when we trade striving for stillness, we find peace in trusting that He is sovereign in all things.There, near to Him, we can surrender our burdens and find that He will bear them for us. There is time to wait by His side, to let His Word sink soul-deep into our lives. When we are worn-out and weary, it’s in His arms that we can find real rest. It’s in His arms that we are given new strength, new energy to walk in obedience to His Word.
He gives us what we need to live out this life He has given to us. We can walk on knowing, even more fully, that we are loved by a Father who will never leave us, a Father who always welcomes us Home to His heart.
The eternal God is your refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.-Deut. 33:27
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. –Psalm 62:1-2
How priceless is Your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of Your wings…for with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.” -Psalm 36: 7&9
You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence…-Psalm 16:11a
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him. -Psalm 37:7
Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. -Psalm 37:4
Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. -Matthew 11:28-29
His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor His delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love. –Psalm 147:10-11
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. -Isaiah 40:29-31