Our life's journey takes us to all elevations. We have joy-filled mountain top experiences; marriage, birth of children and grandchildren, buying your first home or car, and successfully accomplishing goals. But there are also seasons in life when we travel the valley floor, and experience challenges through losses of all kinds. And with Jesus as our traveling companion, He makes life do-able.
When we are cresting high He makes the heights more brilliant and opens wide our understanding of spiritual things. He fills us to overflowing. How we hunger for those times. We feel Abba Father's presence, close and intimate. It reminds me of how the disciples must have felt. Jesus was present; life was intimately shared. His lessons and his words were deeper than the ocean, inspiring and life changing.
Too often in life the path turns downward and we find ourselves walking through the wilderness. Hope is fading. Life seems to be ebbing. The walk is endless, exhausting. If it were a forest it would be rocky cliffs with high mountains to climb and overgrown with thorns. If it were a desert it would be blazing hot with no water, no tree for shade, and no hope of finding rest or sustenance. Just loneliness. Fear. Doubt. Confusion. Hopelessness. How well I remember feeling I would not make it another moment – let alone another day.
Regardless of what your wilderness looks and feels like one thing stays the same....the cry of our hearts. “My God, my God – why have you forsaken me?” Where are you? I can't feel you?! I cannot sense your nearness! He has left me. Lord, answer me! Many ask why – why does God allow us to go through these wilderness experiences and these times when it feels as though he has abandoned us. Why does he stay quiet? Why doesn't he intervene in the midst of my pain and stop it sooner? While I do not pretend to know all the answers to all of these questions the following word picture came to me in my mind regarding where Abba Father is when I cannot sense Him.
I liken it to the parent or grandparent who is teaching a child to ride a bike. As we teach and instruct we grab hold of the bike seat with a firm, steadying grip. We run alongside of our dear little one and encourage and instruct on how to stay upright and steady and safe. Back and forth we go, holding steadily and firmly, instilling confidence and strength.
But there comes a point when we have to let go. With our heart in our throats we let go and watch our kid go like the wind. Alone and wobbly, their sweaty, little hands grip the handle bars that careen back and forth a little too much for our well-being. Now stop. Where is the parent? The good parent does not leave. We are near – watching, praying and rooting our child forward on life's journey.
Here are a few lessons we can learn about Abba Father from this analogy.
- When we are wondering where God is remember: like a loving parent trotting behind the child, HE is never far away. All we have to do is call out his name and he is there. Remember what your father has told you –
Deuteronomy 3:16 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them. FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD IS WITH YOU. HE WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU.”
- Like any parent knows, we must release our child so they can ride alone. When we release them it is with the hope that they will remain dependent upon that which we have taught them. The ride involves learning what is truth and adhering to it. When we do not, we crash. Adhering to what we have been taught is crucial in keeping us on the straight and narrow path or to keep us upright and cruising along. Remember – our dependence upon God alone is crucial -
“But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him. Psalm 37:39-40
- Through the highs and lows of life, God is revealing himself to us. He is using our life circumstances as the canvas upon which he can reveal his personality – his faithfulness and trustworthiness. He desires that we trust Him without question. As human parents, our desire is for our children to obey us without question because we know we teach them truth. To ensure safety and abundant life we teach and enforce in hopes that our children will not question the life-giving path in which we lead them. In short, our children grow to have faith in us through our love and instruction.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. James 1:6
Unwavering Faith in our father's presence is important! Besides what other option is there?
“I'd rather walk in the dark with God. Than go alone in the light; I'd rather walk by faith with him. Than go alone by sight. - Anonymous”