My Father’s Lap

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In the shadow of thy wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. – Psalm 57:1 (RSV)

When I was growing up, there was only one place where I could escape my mother’s wrath—my father’s lap. I was an impulsive child, and my mother wasn’t blessed with patience, so when our wills clashed, sparks flew.

Mom was the firestorm; Dad the quiet stream. I loved them both, but it was to Dad I turned when I needed a listening ear or when I just needed cuddled. Curled up in his lap, resting my head on his shoulder, feeling his arms around me, was the safest place in the world.

Fast forward forty years. I am now a mother, still a bit impulsive, fiery when I get going. My husband is like my father—a soothing balm to my blistering heat. One of my children has impulsively done something that could cast a dark shadow over the future. I am so furious, I shake. I feel heat radiating from my face.

“How could you do this?” I shout. “When we get home, you will tell your father what you’ve done.”

But the scene doesn’t turn out as I expect. There, curled up in my husband’s lap, is our errant, remorseful child.

Fast forward eight more years. I am now a grandmother. As my family has multiplied, so have my love and concern. I pray for my children and grandchildren every day, but still I worry. I am at the age where I realize how fragile life really is and how dangerous a place the world is. I have much more to lose now.

As I sit in the family room, my head rests on the wing of the love seat where I’m curled up. Eyes closed, I imagine myself sitting in my heavenly Father’s lap, resting my head on His shoulder, feeling His arms around me.

I speak no words, but peace, like a placid stream, gently seeps into my soul. I am in the safest place in the world.

Abba, Father, thank You for Your unconditional love. Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 57

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God, Copyright © 2018 by Michele Huey

 

The Grocery List

“Lord, teach us to pray.” – Luke 11:1 (NIV)

I grew up at a time when small, family-owned grocery stores perched on just about every corner in every neighborhood. My mother would call in her list, and they’d gather the items, pack them up in boxes, and deliver them by the end of the day. The stores extended credit, so when Dad got paid, they got paid.

I’m reminiscing those old grocery store days because I’ve been pondering prayer and our perspective of it. 

Too often we approach prayer like writing up a grocery list and phoning it in to God, expecting Him to box up what we need and deliver it pronto. 

It doesn’t work that way.

Like the disciples, we need to ask the Lord to teach us to pray. 

So let’s look at Jesus’ response. “The Lord’s Prayer” is simple, but it contains all we need on our grocery list to the Heavenly storehouse.

First on the list is HONOR. “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Sometimes we’re so focused on the family relationship that we forget our Father’s holiness. We’re so busy crawling into Daddy’s lap that we neglect to bow down in worship to El Shaddai. Honor Him as your heavenly Father and honor Him as your God. 

Second on the list is SUBMISSION. “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Submit to His will for you and surrender what you think you want. Father does know best. Too often we want what we want and nothing else, and get mad at God when we don’t get it.  “This wasn’t on my list,” we complain. “This isn’t the brand I ordered.” Submit to His best for you. 

Third on the list is TRUST. “Give us this day our daily bread.” This isn’t a request only for food to sustain us physically. We also need bread for our minds, hearts, and spirits. And notice the words “this day.” Too often our lists contain more than what we need for one day. We feel better when we see caches stashed away for tomorrow (and tomorrow and tomorrow)—it’s much easier than trusting God, whom we can’t see, for today’s needs. 

Fourth on the list is FORGIVENESS. “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” I prefer the word “trespasses” rather than “debts,” but both convey the same meaning: If you want to be forgiven, you’ve got to forgive others who have hurt you. And we all need to forgive and be forgiven.

The final item on the list is DELIVERANCE. “And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” God, being holy, will never lead us to do wrong. That’s our choice. I like the way the NIV Study Bible explains this verse: “Do not lead us into trials so deep that they would tempt us to be unfaithful to you. God does not tempt (in the sense of enticing us to sin).” Rather, we ask God to deliver us from the evil that surrounds us, so it won’t it affect us, inside or out. 

Honor. Submission. Trust. Forgiveness. Deliverance.

And, remember, you have all the credit you need—just write the check in the name of Jesus, who already paid. 

What’s on your grocery list?

Father, remind me to keep my prayers simple.  Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 6:5–13.

 From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.