Take to Make My Dad Glad
Overcome with the holiness of God so powerfully that I almost had to pull off the freeway. It’s funny how God sneaks up on you and takes your breath away. The only analogy I have is the science experiment I’ve seen at several science centers where sucking the air out of a chamber causes a floating feather to fall to the bottom as though made of lead, but that analogy completely fails in this instance. I suddenly felt I wanted none of me, but all of him filling me. His presence so spilled over that I had to find someone or someplace to share it.
The trail that led me to this moment began last week in a Christian singles course. The topic this month was the differing brains of men and women and how that shapes our differences and understandings of each other. The guys shared what men valued about being male, and the women shared what they valued about being female. Men truly enjoy being leaders, action, results, and success oriented, taking the point position, carefully calculating risk versus outcome when it comes to the people and things they hold in their care. It was an “Oh my gosh, it’s who they are, what they need, and how they’re validated” eureka moment for us women. Then one man raised a question about Jesus: he was a man here on earth, so did that mean his male brain bound his thinking and relating with others? A quick and passionate debate erupted about both male and female qualities emanating from the totality of God, ending in our admission that all we can see from the Gospels is that Jesus was a man of action and purpose who was totally relational, leading yet nurturing, analytical and yet completely integrated between the hemispheres of his human brain – the answer beyond our knowing.
But it set my mind musing two days later as the reality hit me: for a man to take on the responsibility of providing for a wife and family is a huge act of courage and commitment, all our cultural expectations aside, and at its purest core completely selfless. ”That’s God!” I realized, and extrapolating from the light bulb moment in the singles group when the truth hit us all that we actually value the differences in each other, it dawned on me that the part of God from which masculinity was birthed actually delights in courageously, faithfully and selflessly providing for his children.
“You mean you LIKE to be Jehovah Jireh, my provider, my healer, my strength, my wisdom, my life-giver? It rocks your socks, God, to be my source, all I need, more than I expect or can ask for?”
That’s when his holiness hit me: a pure love that doesn’t need anything from me or anybody else to be completely whole, YET who chooses to give to me just because of who he is. And I had to look for the nearest off ramp – encounters with cosmic reality distract my driving – and like a child bouncing eagerly and trustingly for another ride on her Daddy’s shoulders ask for more, more, more of who “I AM” is and wants to be in my life to give him the greatest pleasure possible.
“Fill me so there’s none of me and all of You!” I cried, responding in my usual over-the-top passion when I realize anything new about God.
I am not being sexist: when I read “son” in the Bible, I recognize it means “child,” I know many women provide for their families, and many men are nurturing. And yes, I know men can flake out and abandon and abuse their families, and yes I know women can grasp and cling and nag, but that’s the twisting power of that archaic-sounding word called sin that perverts in us the best we were created to be out of a heart so whole, so vastly secure, so deeply loving that He wants us to be the best and all we long to be, an accurate, powerful reflection of who our Father is. The Prodigal (meaning lavishly bountiful) Father painfully permitted the Prodigal (meaning extravagantly wasteful) Son to run out the full extent of the consequences of his folly, but the Father’s heart was always set, bent, intent on and committed to welcoming his son back to the fullness of his identity in the family. And how the Father rejoiced when his child returned! Now he could bless again!
“’My son,’ the father said, ’you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” Luke 15:31-32
I’m re-reading Cindy Jacobs’ book on intercessory prayer Possessing the Gates of the Enemy. Zephaniah 3:17 leaped out to me in the chapter on the power of praise: “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy (the Hebrew word gwul, meaning to spin around under the influence of violent emotion) over thee with singing.” Cindy writes that as she thought about why God commands us to praise him, “Right in the middle of my thoughts came the words, Am I selfish? I sensed this question was from the Lord. I replied immediately,’ No, Lord, You are never selfish. It is impossible for you to be selfish.’ Then why do you think that I desire to be praised? I considered this for a while. Before I gave my answer He went on, Cindy, I want you to praise me because when you do, I become what you have praised me for . . . I come into your situation and meet your needs.” (Jacobs, Cindy, Possessing the Gates of the Enemy, Chosen Books 1994, 189-190)
I want to drink more from a deeper well till I’m filled and washed, inside and out, with Living Water. I want to find and be filled with the best of me, and I know somehow that comes only from the fullness of God in me, so I’m going to ask big time. I hope that counter-cultural need and desire in me gives my Father pure happiness to meet!
A “. . . but . . . ” to move: Father God, my life doesn’t look like you want to bless me right now. I see a big circumstantial disconnect between the reality I’m living in and what I believe your Word says you want for me, especially in ___________________________________, and frankly I’ve sarcastically said, “Oh, really?” to you more than once. I’m driving down the freeway at 75 mph trying to make good things happen out of my own sense of responsibility for the outcome, BUT I will believe you’re more ready to give good things to me than I am to receive them, so I dare to ask you now to ____________________________________________________________________________________ to make my life a victorious, glorious reflection of who you are!