Ever view a talk show featuring parent-child reunions? The audience is offered a front row seat to the first smiles of two people who had for various reasons been separated from one another. Clapping through tears, the host wraps up the episode with a fond farewell, climatic music decrescendos and everyone goes home.
The featured guests are left face to face and heart to heart with someone they were intended to have had relationship with all along. Feeling close on one level, they must walk through the motions of establishing true relationship. The heart's longing for that which "should have been" mixed with the reality that relationships are not built in a day must make for an interesting journey. I've often wondered how those individuals proceeded after the excite of the re-unite.
The weight of a single decision
Although I always remember believing in God, it wasn't until I was twenty-one that my heart was eternally reunited with Him. Much like the excitement, music and lights were the initial days of my salvation. My entire life had been impacted by the weight of a single decision. In a moment I went from condemned to saved, guilty to forgiven, tainted to pure, and victim to over comer. Never again would I be alone or unloved.
That God shaped hole within was experiencing the first tastes of what had always been intended to fill it. It wasn't until that point that I was able to realize the insufficiency of previous substitutes. The introduction to my Savior was glorious and I reveled in His peace that transcended my understanding, joy that was my strength, mercy that was new every morning and love that held no limits.
And yet, life goes on. The warm embrace of the New Birth held firm while the reality of life quickly came back into view. Mentored in truth I learned that this relationship required more than acceptance of my Savior … it required the offering of my heart to the Father.
I had never known a Father's love. Those things that we all think of … daddy-daughter dances, strong arms to rescue you, protection, safety, unconditional acceptance and affirmation … these had been the furthest thing from my personal experience.
And so, for a long time, my way of loving the Father was simply to allow Him to love me. Like an overly tired infant having nothing to give, it was a good day when I could rest and trust enough to simply allow Him to comfort me rather than flailing about in life consumed by my own troubles. Each time I availed myself to spend time in His presence and seek His face He was abundantly faithful, gentle and patient leading me ever so slowly into deeper places of intimacy with Him.
Trust takes time — and He is faithful
After years of relationship, trust came more easily. As He was faithful to continue the good work that He began within me, binding up my heart and making every broken place whole; the scales of fear, mistrust and suspicion fell from my eyes helping me to see my Father clearly.
Perfect love really does cast out fear (1 John 4:18). Once free to love Him we grew closer at an accelerated pace. I learned that only I determine the limits on how close we could become.
Daddy-daughter dances, strong arms to rescue you, protection, safety, unconditional love, and affirmation? Yes … I know them now; Praise you Father I know them now.