Mike Barnes is a regular contributor to our blog, and he also happens to be in the same men's accountability group I am a part of in Sacramento. So today you are being blessed with what I am blessed with on a regular basis as we meet 6AM on Monday mornings (too early to think, but it does our hearts good anyway). I hope, as he is reminding us today, that you have a new sense of the Father's heart for you. -Ray
On a recent morning following a rain, I had occasion to be driving in the thick fog along I-5 north of Sacramento. The hazy mist brought to mind the hunting trips I have taken with my father where we would spend hours in a duck blind, often in the fog, waiting for the birds to come. My father has been an avid sportsman since his teenage years and, although divorced from my mother, regularly took me and my brother hunting in my earlier years. We’d sit and wait, often with little conversation and sometimes with much, and just enjoy the cold, wet conditions of nature, far from urban sprawl.
Since my move to Sacramento a few years ago, dad has prodded me several times to join a local duck club. Doing so would enable him and my brothers to join me in a place where we could, due to the plentiful waterfowl, actually hunt and not have wait for hours to take a shot. Unfortunately, work demands and, quite honestly, a waning desire to hunt have restrained me from doing so. But this morning’s drive in the familiar “pea soup” fog opened my eyes, and even more my heart, to something I’ve likely been missing both in my dad’s requests, and Another’s, all along.
Instead of looking at his requests from my perspective and what it might mean to me, I began to recognize something different, perhaps a glimpse into the heart behind them. I realized I really would enjoy sitting in a blind with my dad today as much as ever, and that enjoyment had nothing to do with me having a hunting license, or shotgun, or taking a shot. It had to do with the simple and natural enjoyment I had in being alone with my dad.
Those times in a duck blind, when we just sat, talked, and took in whatever was around us, were for us times of greatest exposure and simplistic closeness. It was a time for a father to be with his son; nothing more, nothing less. There were no conditions, and no expectations or demands, rather it was a time for us to just be us—together.
Clearly, spending time together-even in a duck blind-has drawn us closer. Finally seeing this motive behind my dad’s requests removes what I perceived to be a burden on my already busy adult life and replaces it with a child’s pride that my father still wants to spend time with me!
And how can I not find the great parallel with our Heavenly Father’s desire for fellowship behind His regular ‘call?’ Our Father’s calls come throughout each day and night, each joy and trouble, and each success and failure, and are simply reflective of His desire for us to commune with Him. For He wants to spend time with us and desires each of us to be open, exposed, and vulnerable. (Gen. 2:25, 3:9; James 4:8) Just as he regularly met with his first children in Eden’s cool of the morning, He still calls throughout each day to us.
Through this it is clear that I have two fathers who love me, have known me throughout my life in ways I am just coming to learn, and who both communicate their love for me in ways I am just coming to understand.
It is also very clear I would a better understanding of my place, life, and value to those most important to me if I would just see more through my Fathers’ eyes.