I was glancing through Timothy Keller’s book on Prayer, which Gill is currently reading, and was struck by an illustration he drew from one of the seventeenth-century Puritans, Thomas Goodwin. One day Goodwin saw a father and son walking along the street. Suddenly the father swept the son up into his arms and hugged and kissed him and told the boy he loved him. Then after a minute he put the boy back down. Goodwin then posed the question: was the little boy more a son in his father’s arms than he was down on the street? Obviously the ‘legal’ answer was no – but there was all the difference in the world in terms of the boy experiencing his sonship in his father’s arms.
As we continue through these extraordinary times I pray that we may all ‘feel’ held in our Heavenly Father’s arms. But what if we don’t? What if, at times, we feel like we’re not even holding His hand, that we’re perhaps lagging some way behind Him? Perhaps there are times when you feel particularly anxious and you don’t feel close to God at all. Three quick thoughts:
- first of all, may we always remember that ‘legally’ we are God’s child, however we feel. We belong to God, we’ve been adopted into His family, and this is all because of, and through, Jesus Christ;
- secondly, there may be sin in our lives – which includes fear – which we should repent of and confess to God. He cares that we naturally get anxious – “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103,13,14) – but throughout Scripture His command is “Do not fear!”; and
- thirdly, if we seek to draw near to God He promises to draw near to us (James 4v8). A vital element in this is our constant prayer to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5v18) because it is “the Spirit Himself [who] testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8v16).
May feelings of ‘sonship’ follow for each of us the fact of our ‘sonship’ (women equally included!), especially throughout these difficult days.
Peace and Grace