The Love of the Father
We’ve had the privilege of being vendors at local military exchanges. It is a great way for us to get the word out about Godstruck Ministries and our products, and it allows us to connect with military members and retirees. As a retired military family, we have a special spot in our heart for our service members. One of our objectives is to bless them with words of encouragement and thanks, candy and small gifts for their kids. They are to the man/woman polite and grateful for our presence at the exchange facilities. I am floored that as we thank them for their selfless service to protect and defend our country, our citizens and our way of life, they are often thanking us in return for our meager support.
At one particular military post, we were occupying a space in the huge foyer just outside the entrance to the main shopping area. For some reason, no matter the weather, every day at about 2:00 – 3:00 it gets very cold inside. I wear layers, drink hot tea and try to stay mobile. As I was folding my arms and stamping around a bit, out of the corner of my eye I saw a stroller loaded with plush blankets cradling an occupant coming towards our table. Sergeant Dad was carefully guiding the stroller around the row of vendor kiosks and tables followed by his teenage sons. Partly to engage them in conversation, partly because my nose felt like an icicle, as they approached I commented that I would have loved to have had those blankets wrapped around me. I came to the stroller expecting to see the face of perhaps a 2 or 3 year old enjoying the blanket cocoon. However as I peered inside, it was not a toddler occupying the cozy seat, it was a 13 or 14 year old girl! She was babbling and had a small smile on her lips, little neck control and a look in her big blue eyes that conveyed a lack of understanding of common conversation. Her daddy looked down on her affectionately and did some babbling of his own. “Ba ba ba, yeah, that’s my girl,” he cooed lovingly. I’m sure by this time I had a tear in my eye as I listened to his story. He had been in the military, had left, but then came back in “for her.” Her medical expenses must have been huge, and being in the Army guaranteed that he could cover her health needs. His service was the sacrifice he made for his darling girl. She loved him back through her smile and the innocent look in those big blue eyes, her only way to respond. It must have touched her daddy’s heart, and my heart was aching for them both as I bid them good-bye. There was something sacred in the love I saw passed from father to child.
There is a love that is even more sacred and beautiful than the father/daughter relationship I witnessed at the Exchange that day. The heavenly Father looks down with compassion on His children. He wraps us up in the soft, cozy blanket of His love, guides us carefully through life, and provides all our needs. God’s Word says, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1. His Son was the sacrifice He made for us. His love is abundant, and there is nothing we can do for Him to love us more.
Take time to show your gratefulness for this amazing love. You can speak words of thanks to Him, but it is also important to remember the Bible teaches that to love Him back is to obey His Word. In John Chapter 14 Jesus said, 15“If you love me you will obey what I command,” 21“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me,” and 23“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.” As one of Jesus’ closest friends, the apostle John was surely overwhelmed by the love of the Father. Having written the above quotes in the book named for him, John reiterates this truth in his New Testament letters. 1 John 5:3 states, “This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome,” Obeying God’s Word shows our appreciation for all that He has done and continues to do for us. It is the loving response that touches the Father’s heart.
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