Welcome to Songs of Salvation! Each Sunday I will feature a Christian author sharing a "Song of Salvation" to uplift and encourage believers and glorify God.
And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. Revelation 12:11 NLT
Authors, find out how to share your Song of Salvation here.
A Father’s Delight
by Jonathan Anthony
According to movies, pretty much every wise sage or mentor has grey hair. Think about it: Gandalf. Mr. Miyagi. Yoda. The list goes on. Grey hair has long been a symbol of wisdom, which is good because I’m getting more and more of it. However, to gain the wisdom that comes with age, I’ve found you have to trade in many of your memories to create some room in your brain for the new information. I’m more forgetful now than ever before, and it’s not getting better. Apparently grey hairs are really just your brain cells waving white flags of surrender.
In the midst of losing memories, like where I put my keys or wondering if I’ve already already taken my vitamins for the day, a few specific memories have managed to stand the test of time and remain vivid in my mind. One in particular was when I was around five years old.
I had just started playing T-ball and was in love with baseball, like a good little American boy. My family would occasionally play Wiffle Ball in the backyard, and some kids and adults would come over into our backyard and play with us. We didn’t have a fence, so basically it was open to anyone who wanted to stroll by and jump in.
After a few innings, I stepped up to the plate, proudly wearing my T-ball hat, of course. I needed to let everyone know I was an experienced ball player. My dad was pitching, and I was doing all I could to remember the biggest lesson of baseball: keep your eye on the ball. The first pitch came and it was a swing and a miss for me. When you wiff in Wiffle Ball, you quickly realize where it got its name, but it’s still embarrassing.
The second pitch came, and I kept my eye on the ball. This time I didn’t wiff it, I connected with it like Babe Ruth! It went sailing over the bushes and into the street. No one had hit a ball that far yet. If you don’t know, it’s pretty hard to send a Wiffle Ball sailing, but all my T-ball practice had paid off.
As I took off for first base, I looked to the center of the yard, and I saw my dad go crazy with excitement. I’m talking running with his hands up and shouting. “WOW! Did you see that! Look at that! That’s my son!” I couldn’t hide my smile as I ran around the bases to home plate, which was actually just two sticks we put there to represent home plate.
I’ve had many other great memories in life, and unfortunately, many grey hairs have removed the memories from my mind. But for some reason, this memory has stood the test of time and I can recall it quite clearly. I am not completely sure why, but I think it has something to do with seeing my father freaking out over me like that. He told me he loved me while I was growing up, but that backyard game was a rare moment of complete joy and pride I got to see him have, and it was about me.
God asks to call him Father, and as a result, we tend to connect a lot of our feelings about our earthly fathers with our heavenly Father.
Many people who have issues with their dads also have issues with God. Unfortunately, many fathers tend to be relatively distant with their children. Not necessarily unloving, but they can often come off as uninterested, without even knowing they are doing it. So therefore many of us think of God as a distant parent. We often think he’s uninterested in us, and maybe even annoyed that we’re bothering him with our prayers. It’s hard to picture our heavenly Father as someone who would run through the backyard shouting in joy over us.
Yet, the Bible tells us that God not only loves us, but he delights in us. Psalm 147:11 says, “The Lord delights in those who fear him.” Psalm 149:4 says, “The Lord takes pleasure in his people.” Zephaniah 3:17 goes as far as to say he takes great delight in us, and even rejoices over us with singing. King David said we are the “apple of His eye.” I’m not entirely sure what that means, but it sounds better than being the kale salad of his eye. Over and over, the word of God speaks about his love for his children.
If I can be honest, I don’t always feel loved by God. Sometimes I wonder if God is hearing me, seeing me, and concerned with me. Some seasons of life make me feel like I’m alone on an island trying to wave to a rescue ship far away on the horizon. Maybe you’ve felt that way, too, or even feel that way right now.
But beyond our feelings and emotions, the truth is we do not have the distant love of a distant father. We have a love so close that the Creator of the universe stepped down into his creation to be with his children. We have a love so passionate for us that a King became a sacrifice. We have a love so powerful “that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God doesn’t just tolerate you, he loves you. Crazy, overjoyed, running through the backyard screaming love! He knows your name, and he rejoices over you.
So what is our response? We return the love. We rejoice over his goodness and we rejoice in his grace. We can’t do anything worthy of the love of God; he already loves us simply because we are his children. So we must live lives that reflect the love God gives us right back to him, and reflect it others.
We love him who first loved us. We sing for a God who sings over us. We run through the backyard with our hands held high.