Saturday, September 16, 2017

“Our Father”

20170914_094953 (1280x960)For several months I have been using the Lord’s prayer from Matthew 6 as the template for my evening prayers. It started in February when I was so sick and drugged up that all I could do was just recite the Lord’s prayer from memory and then go back to sleep. But it has developed into a long meditation on the implications of what Jesus was teaching in the prayer. One thing I have been thinking about lately is the word “Father.” Why do I want to call God father? First, it is an acknowledgement that I am a contingent, dependent being and God is my Creator. Everything I am and have comes from Him. He is “in Heaven” at the steering wheel of the control room of the universe. The Father has both the means and the desire to provide for me and for all His sons and daughters.

Second, God the Father is a gracious provider. I have worked hard to dispel the idea I see in the church that God the Father is a mean, wrathful judge who sits in heaven waiting to squash us when we mess up. The Exodus description of God begins with ”the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin,” and yes I know it ends with “punishment to the 3rd and 4th generation,” but even that is gracious as God lets us be free to experience the consequences of our behavior or receive the loving discipline He provides. He wants to give us what we need to flourish as His children, not just now but for all eternity. As Jesus said in the sermon on the mount, He knows what I need before I even ask Him and He is a loving Father who is willing to give it to us.

20170914_094911 (1280x960)Joyce and I have experienced this is in very practical ways since we have begun the cancer adventure. God has provided so many things, some that we didn’t even know we needed, like the free cancer camp. Jesus says that the Father knows our basic needs like housing, food and clothing and we have seen God supply these in abundance through His people. We came for Christmas vacation with no summer clothes and God’s people have provided for us. We came without the funds necessary for covering deductibles and co-pays, and God has provided above and beyond so that we could cover expenses we did not even know existed. God has provided homes for us to stay in (the beautiful place we are staying now is pictured above) and we are covered now through at least the end of 2017. God provided us with a 2004 Toyota Sienna van for $20 (right), in which Joyce has made a bed for me in the back for long trips to the doctor, and which she loves to drive. The list goes on and on. So right now, I am obeying the command to praise God for what He has done for His people. God has blessed us by meeting our needs throughout this whole experience. He really is “Our Father who art in heaven!”

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