Your Father cheers you on
I was enjoying my daily Quiet Time with God while my son was rushing around getting ready to leave for work. He emerged wearing a pair of smart black trousers and a long sleeved shirt. But when he checked the day’s weather forecast, he discovered it was going to be warmer than anticipated. So he ran back to his room to change into a short sleeved shirt. In spite of the delay he managed to leave in time to catch his bus.
I stood at the doorway seeing him off. It was a beautiful day. The air was cool and fresh. The sun beamed down in warmth and glory. A few parrots screeched in joy as they raced one another. I watched my son as he walked down our driveway, onto the road and then as he disappeared from sight. Images of my little boy filled my mind, a kaleidoscope of special moments. I felt a lump in my throat and my eyes filled with tears. I was so proud of him. I see him now as the cute chubby three year old he used to be, off to nursery school for the first time, with a small backpack and a blue drink bottle in hand, wearing his cheeky little-boy-grin. I see him next as a five year old beginning primary school, in dark blue shorts and a spotless white shirt, with a class full of 40 other boys dressed in identical attire. A big moment.
He was seven when we left for Malaysia—and spent a year in the Melaka International school in green shorts and yellow shirt, in a class of only seven children. An interesting experience. I picture him next at age eight, after we arrived in this beautiful Land Down Under. His uniform then was black shorts and maroon T shirt with a legionnaire’s hat to protect his neck from the warmth of the South Australian sun. A year 4 boy.
Asela was 12 when he entered high school—decked in grey longs and a white shirt, a green checked tie, a red jumper and a smart green blazer. It was at the Kings Baptist Grammar School that he spent the longest years of his education. They were good ones. I see him next as a lanky 19 year old with a much larger back pack than that once-upon-a time-three-year-old, off to Uni this time. Today, 6 years later, Asela is a quiet thoughtful 25 year old, out and about in the big wide working world. His father and I are very proud of him.
I breathe thanks to God for the way He has cared for my boy over the years and has blessed us immeasurably. Asela has faced plenty of challenges and jumped over numerous obstacles over the years. But he has overcome them all to reach where he is today. Hard work on a daily basis and millions of challenging moments are behind us now— minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years. They seem to have disappeared in the blink of an eye. Where has the time gone? I ponder on the way my baby has grown and my heart is filled. Thank you Lord.
When God looks at me, I know He sees through His loving Daddy-God eyes. He perceives my faltering steps; he watches my growth. He sees me when I stumble and especially if I fall. When I cry out to Him, He picks me up. He loves it when I turn to Him in repentance and start over again. I'm so thankful that He's a God of the second chance. My walk with him has been an invigorating journey over four decades. And yet, I am still an infant in arms in many ways. I glimpse the smallness of my own heart and the largeness of His and I am filled with remorse. But He is patient, He is kind. A doting Parent. Loving. Arms outstretched. Always there for me. His love has been my hiding place. My refuge. And my strength.
Another year has flown past. What thoughts grab you as you look back on it? Gratitude? Sadness? Guilt? Shame? Don’t forget that your Heavenly Father is very proud of the steps you’ve taken forward. No matter where you’ve been, it’s the future that matters. He looks at you with a Father's tender gaze. His smile is ever present, his arms are open. His heart is filled with hope for all He desires you become. He knows you better than anyone else. He smiles His approval over everything you’ve accomplished this past year, and delights in the way you've overcome all those challenges. He’s pleased at your faith and your trust in Him. And most of all, He loves the fact that you seek to honour Him through your life.
But what of your mistakes? Your sins? Your waywardness? No, He doesn’t condemn you. Instead He invites you to open yourself to the Holy Spirit for a makeover. A new start in 2016. Yes, your Father cheers you over the finish line of 2015 and welcomes you into the brand New Year, rich with possibilities in His Presence.
Are you ready? The best is yet to be.
“But one thing I do. Forgetting what is behind and straining to what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me homeward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13, 14