On Saturday, November 18th, I saw two things which worked in conjunction to bring me a great word from the Lord.
The first occurred at a men’s devotional I held early that morning. We watched a video during this devotional. In the video, John Eldredge talks about God not only being our father but always intended to be our father. He says God is not a “consolation prize” for those of us who didn’t have fathers but the father every man has whether he had a decent human father or not.
I was such a guy. I had a great stepdad who did a ton for me, but I didn’t know my biological father (still don’t), so I always had that “ache” Eldredge talks about and always felt “God as my father” was such a consolation prize. Hearing what Eldredge says here about God always intending to be my father was a great encouragement to me.
I took that idea into my nighttime prayer. I always start that prayer with what Tim Keller calls “approaching” in his book Prayer; I tell God I’m coming and hope to be with/hear from Him. On this night, I said this during that approaching time: “I’m ready and willing to be fathered by you.” I then opened the Moravian Text (which I always use for my nighttime prayers) and found this:
Everything here spoke to me. God lifting up the downcast (which I am) and God loving the righteous (which I also am; I’m not perfectly righteous like Him, of course, but I am “relatively righteous” as I have chosen to pursue Him; thus this verse applies to imperfect me) spoke to me; I certainly need both those things. God bringing His people out of Egypt and Paul & Silas out of prison spoke to me even more. I saw that He is indeed a “liberating God” as the prayer calls Him.
This is important to me because I have always feared imprisonment. Indeed, I have always felt imprisoned one way or another. I have always felt what John Parr says in his song “St. Elmo’s Fire”:
That’s me and that’s always been me: a prisoner trying to break free (and if you make fun of me for the cheesy 80s music/movie reference, you’re imprisoning me even more!).
But what God told me through His living and active Word and the Spirit He put inside me is that I won’t always be a prisoner. I might be a prisoner to some degree now (and I am), but I won’t be a prisoner forever. Not only so, but He also told me I wouldn’t have to “break free”; He would break me free Himself; I wouldn’t have to do it, wasn’t responsible for it.
It was a great word for me, one that greatly encouraged me. And that’s what I saw on November 10, 2018.