I watched the timer on my phone pass 20 minutes, 30 minutes, then 40 minutes. I’d been on hold for more than 40 minutes!
We’ve all experienced it. Customer service representatives go from one troubleshooting call to the next. It’s not their fault; they can only do so much. However, because of the high number of callers, they are not easily accessible.
Kind of like me as a dad. I have not always been available for my family. There were times I was tired, too focused on work, or just more interested in my own comfort than being available at home.
It got really bad about 15 years ago.
I felt appreciated at work. Things were orderly and successful. But home felt very different. Our four children were 6, 4, 2 and 1 years old, and we had a major house renovation in process. On top of all this, my dear wife was caring for two pre-schoolers to help with income.
Because of all she was doing, she asked me to be home at 4:30 to help her. 4:30 was the time when she ‘hit the wall’ and needed assistance. I agreed in our conversation but failed to do so in practice.
After respectfully asking me to honor my commitment to be home at 4:30, she eventually asked me another question:
“Do you even want to be home?” Ouch.
Thank God for Jen’s wisdom and grace. She provided me an opportunity to be honest with myself. Being in touch with reality is always the best place to begin for growth and loving others.
“No. I guess I don’t want to be here.”
The next day, I adjusted my calendar to reflect my priorities so that I could be home and participate in family life. But I was still running into a problem. As a busy pastor in a growing church, I was often drained by the end of my workday. On top of that, my commute was extremely short. If I went the long way and hit the stop light, I had about 5 minutes to make the shift. I was struggling because I was going home to the most important people in the world to me... with nothing left to give them.
I can only do so much. I’m human. Finite. Limited.
This is not the case with our heavenly Father. His power and presence have no limits. His love is greater than we can imagine. And His ability to be with every person on the planet, in every moment, is beyond our comprehension.
With the psalmist in Psalm 147, we can shout,
How good it is to sing to our God,
for praise is pleasant and lovely.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and bandages their wounds.
4 He counts the number of the stars;
he gives names to all of them.
5 Our Lord is great, vast in power;
his understanding is infinite.
6 The Lord helps the oppressed
but brings the wicked to the ground.
7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
8 who covers the sky with clouds,
prepares rain for the earth,
and causes grass to grow on the hills.
9 He provides the animals with their food,
and the young ravens what they cry for.
10 He is not impressed by the strength of a horse;
he does not value the power of a warrior.
11 The Lord values those who fear him,
those who put their hope in his faithful love.
Another way to say this last line is, “The Lord delights in those who revere him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” (Combination of NIV and TLV)
Even when we sin, the Lord’s attitude toward us is summarized in Jeremiah 31:20: “Isn’t Ephraim a precious son to me, a delightful child? Whenever I speak against him, I certainly still think about him. Therefore, my inner being yearns for him; I will truly have compassion on him.”
No matter our circumstances, we can count on our Father’s presence: “For he himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you.’ Therefore, we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper.” (Hebrews 13:5b-6a, CSB)
When I started getting home at 4:30, I still arrived to more than I could handle. But I wasn’t alone. I learned to take those few minutes in the car to pray. I would say,
“Father God, I’m headed home to the most important people in my life. No one else is their husband or dad. But I’ve got nothing left. Will you fill me with your Holy Spirit? Please give me your love, grace, kindness and strength so that I can be present, loving and attentive to these five precious people you have entrusted to my care.”
He answered every time.
Dear Saints, do you believe the truth about God’s attitude toward you? Do you believe that our loving heavenly Father is eager to be with you no matter how you feel like you’re doing? Do you believe that He is always with you, as the Scriptures say? Unlike customer service representatives who are overwhelmed and often unavailable, God is always accessible and delighted to be with you.
The question is… do you want Him in your home?
Get honest with yourself. He’s waiting for you to take Him up on His promises.
“I renounce the lie that You, Father God, are absent or too busy for me.”
“I choose to believe the truth that You, Father God, are always present and eager to be with me and enable me to be all that You created me to be.”
(Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 13:5) – Neil T. Anderson, The Steps to Freedom in Christ, p. 13
Freedom in Christ Ministries President, USA