I'm sure there were times my dad could have accomplished the job much faster (or better) without us. I'm also pretty sure there were times we slowed him down or even frustrated him a little with all of our questions and complaining. Sometimes we would mess up, but before we could even get upset about it dad was there to clean it up and show us a better way. The thing dad probably hated the most was when my sis and I got into it. He would simply teach us that if we worked together on things, we'd be able to get more done and do a better job (not to mention a more pleasant work environment for everyone, haha). We made friends with the electricians, the plumbers, and whoever else dad needed to hire. All of these people became family. Individually we did what we knew to do and collectively we built a house, from the ground up.
Dad had the right tool for every job he asked us to do. If we didn't know how to do it, he'd teach us. We had learned a plethora of invaluable skills as a kid before we could even write in cursive. Not only have these trades come in handy, but so had our ability to believe in ourselves and others. One of the most priceless things he taught us was how irreplaceable we were to him; no matter how much we may have messed up, argued, or complained. He loved us. And no matter how we got through the journey, we got through it with him. He was ALWAYS there. He may not have been in the same room, but he never left the house without us. Dad knew we would fail at times, but he never once treated us like a failure... rather he taught us how to walk out of that in the freedom of his love with no guilt or shame. In fact, if we had always done things perfect... I'm not sure we would've known how much his love far outweighed performance and exceeded our human expectations of our little selves.
Just a few days ago I found myself vacuuming around the edge of a room at one of the houses my dad is currently remodeling. I felt my childish tendencies returning when I asked if he was REALLY needing this to be done or if he was just giving me a job to keep me busy. Then suddenly it hit me! Dad could always pay someone else to do exactly what i'm doing... so whether or not he's making up mundane assignments he just wants me in his presence!
I immediately started to tear up as I realized the magnitude of this revelation and the impact it was about to take on my life. All these years, dad just wanted to be with us and us with him. He wanted to show his love through the ups and downs of life, the success and failures, the mistakes and the beautiful finished products. He was always much more concerned with us knowing his heart than he was us learning specific skills. He knew we were most likely not going to grow up builders, but we were going to grow up. What better way to grow than in the constant care of a father who loved us so much that he would spend his life showing us.
So as I was vacuuming I was also pondering. Again the Lord was showing me that if my own earthly dad had this much love for some crazy kids, how much more He desired for us to know HIS own insane love for us! Then I began to see how much our life is like all those houses we built. Our heavenly Dad doesn't always worry about us messing up, becoming skilled, or the occasional complaint... He simply wants us in His presence (although I'm sure he'd rather do without the whining, haha). I'm beginning to see that His love for us far exceeds what job we are doing or how well we are doing it. It's all a journey, and He's not intimidated by how fast or perfect we live it. In fact, I'd be willing to bet He would LOVE for us to slow down from time to time and rest with Him. I don't think our mistakes bother Him as much as the lies we believe about ourselves afterward. Our shame, guilt and disappointment do not reveal His glory in the situation... but our utter dependence on Him does!
We've got to remember it's not a race to see who can build the bigger, fancier house before we die... but perhaps it's more about the time spent with the builder- the one who wrote the plans for your life in the first place. The one who cares about every step of the journey. We tend to miss some pretty amazing opportunities when we just focus on the end result. I mean, the end result is gonna be pretty fantastic... but there are so many who have not been shown how much the grand Architect adores all of His kids, even the messy ones :) When we realize how much grace He's bestowed on all of us, we can't help but bestow just as much grace on their journey. And how much more can we accomplish for His kingdom when we work so beautifully together.
So just like my own dad: our Father gets so much delight out of watching his kids work along side of him, work together, work for a greater cause than just ourselves, and being able to stand back and enjoy the finished product as a family. He's got every tool we need to do what He asks of us... but no matter what- YOU are irreplaceable to the Father. He is always there. And His love far outweighs our human nature to perform. He can accomplish exceedingly more in and through us when we are completely surrendered to His will for our lives. How much JOY He gets out of us being right by His side. His presence will make even the most boring mundane job worth every second. Our acceptance of His pursuit and desire to follow our love wherever He may go tend to result in a pretty fulfilling and very God-glorifying life.
B90: (Jeremiah 31- 52:34) If Jeremiah was a crayon in the box of prophets, I'd say he would be brown or black... probably closely tied with Isaiah. I mean, aren't these fellas are just a bundle of joy?? Hahaha. Ok, in all seriousness though. These books are harder than hades to read. I found myself trying to remember how much God really does love us when I'm enveloped in the lives and words of these crazy characters. And as much as I'd just love to throw these books out all together, it's a part of the WHOLE gospel. While I'm also reading "Erasing hell" by Francis Chan, I stumbled upon these interesting words by J.C. Ryle yesterday (quoted on a friends blog):
If you would ever be a healthy and scriptural Christian, I entreat you to beware of any ministry which does not plainly teach the reality and eternity of hell. Such a ministry may be soothing and pleasant, but it is far more likely to lull you to sleep than to lead you to Christ or build you up in the faith. It is impossible to leave out any portion of God’s truth without spoiling the whole. That preaching is sadly defective which dwells exclusively on the mercies of God and the joys of heaven and never sets forth the terrors of the Lord and the miseries of hell. It may be popular, but it is not scriptural; it may amuse and gratify, but it will not save. Give me the preaching which keeps back nothing that God has revealed.And although I'm not even completely sure where I stand with this quote, I am sure of one thing. I am sure of kingdom that began with His love and will last forever in the freedom of that love. I know that I serve the God of this kingdom. I deeply desire that every single person on this earth will one day come to the revelation of His love and be rescued from a Godless eternity. What that all looks like, can any of us be sure?? As confusing as things can be in this world, we must always remember to invite Jesus into those moments with us. Anything that we could possibly go through on this earth... He has gone through to an even greater degree. We must trust in the one that was there before the foundations were even laid. He's got a plan and I wanna be a part of it!