Recently I received a text from a business associate I hadn’t seen or heard from in months. After our short conversation about a business matter, I asked how she and her family were doing. She texted that they had gone through a rough time for the past few months with COVID-19 running through their family of seven people. She said it was very scary and had compounded their financial problems because they couldn’t work their jobs. She said they were still getting back on their feet. I told her that Larry and I would pray for them for God’s healing, financial recovery, and blessings. She responded, “Thank you so much. I’m so thankful we all made it through. But I feel like the Lord has His hands full with much more important problems going on all over the world right now. We are probably the least of His concerns. But thank you for your kind words and prayers.”
This is indicative of how most people really feel about God and His feelings toward them. At one time or another, most of us have experienced feeling unaccepted or unloved. If our friends and family members occasionally don’t even want to be with us, why would God Almighty want to hang out with us? Do you find it difficult to fathom that God takes pleasure in spending time with you? God wants you to be a vital, growing member of His family, and He desires to communicate with you and spend time with you—just as a good earthly dad wants to spend time with his children. Even if nobody else in the entire world wants to have a thing to do with us, our Father wants everything to do with us!
God’s Door Is Always Open
A number of years ago I was in my office at the church pre- paring my message notes for the service. I had my door shut so I wouldn’t be distracted and could focus my thoughts. All of a sudden, I heard giggling and a scratchy, scratchy sound on the door. I looked up to see my four-year-old twin grand-sugars, Asher and Judah, peeking in through the door with great big smiles, waiting for me to see them. To everyone else, my door was shut, but to my sugars, there’s never a closed door! I dropped everything and ran to them for my hugs and kisses. At that moment nothing in the world was more important to me than loving and being loved by my sugars!
And it’s the same way with God our Father. His door is never shut to us, His “sugars.” He’ll drop everything when you come and peek in His door. Just like those sugars are the light of my life, we are the lights of God’s life. He’s just waiting for us to come on in and spend some time with Him! So, when you go before Him, express from your heart—and feel in return from His heart—joy, love, peace, pleasure, and acceptance. God, our Father’s door is always open to you and me.
People Need People
Nearly forty years ago the Lord called Larry and me to move to Adelaide, South Australia, and pioneer a church. It was fascinating to see the Lord gather people from every nationality and background together to build a multiracial, multicultural body of believers for Him. We had more than forty-two nationalities in our church and interpreted our services into many different languages. We saw Aussies, Russians, Ukrainians, South Americans, Aboriginals, Tongans, French, Yugoslavs, Hungarians, Mauritians, Fijians, and even a few Americans (our family!) lay aside the barriers of division and build bridges of acceptance, friendship, and love.
In all honesty, this did not come automatically or without resistance. We did everything we possibly could to reach out, befriend, and show kindness to one another. We saw the Lord tear down cultural ideas that historically divided and brought strife in previous years. Larry and I praise God that the impact and relationships from that period continue to this very day. Not to sound cliché or corny, but love and compassion really can cross all barriers.
During the first several months of building this church, our oldest daughter, Anna, was starting school in Australia. One day a few weeks after she started school, Larry and I heard her in her bedroom, up in the corner of her top bunk bed, crying into her pillow. We rushed in and hugged her and asked what was wrong. Finally, she was able to stop crying enough to tell us that at school the other children were laughing and making fun of her “funny” American accent. She said no one would play with her or talk to her, and at lunch, she just sat alone in a corner and ate by herself. During recess, while all the kids ran around, laughed, and played together, she just walked back and forth, back and forth, across the schoolyard, all alone and praying to Jesus.
Jesus Can’t Play With Me
You can imagine how our hearts broke for our baby girl. In my search for some words that could console her heart, I said, “Anna, even though you feel alone, you’re not alone. Jesus is right there with you, inside your heart and walking beside you.” She looked up at me through her tears and said, “I know, Mom, but Jesus can’t play with me.” We both hugged and sobbed on each other. It is such a vivid example of the importance and power of the love of God and the love of God’s people.
As true as it is that Jesus is always right there with us, it is also true that people need people. That brings me back to mentioning that we should seek to be a blessing to others. Let’s always try to be conscious of those around us who may need a smile. When you walk into church, especially, ask the Lord to point out someone who needs to be acknowledged, hugged, or encouraged. Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do is simply be a friend to someone. We are blessed to be a blessing to others. Someone said that, as believers, we need to be Jesus with skin on! Never underestimate God’s intervention, help, and manifestation to our children. As Larry, Anna, and I cried together that day, we shared the love and compassion of a family— mom, dad, and child. Then we shared the love and compassion of God the Father as we prayed together, asking Him to help and bless Anna with His strength and His love for others. We prayed that she would be aware of His presence with her at school. Then we asked Him to intervene and help her make friends and to give her favor at school. The very next day, she was able to make friends with several little girls, and rather than making fun of her for being American, they wanted to know all about her and America. Prayers answered!
Jesus is right there with you too. Whether we are facing the fear of making friends in elementary school, facing the fears of a deadly cancer diagnosis, or facing the fears of the world we all live in right now, Jesus is with us. He loves you, cares about you, and is already working things out in your life.