“A Father is neither an anchor to hold us back, nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.” ~Unknown
As far back as I can remember, my dad always had a thick paperback book in his hand, an RC Cola on the table, and a cigarette smoldering in the ashtray beside him. He stayed up late. He didn’t mind me sitting next to him if I was quiet. He always seemed to be thinking about more than what was going on at the moment.
I’d often stare at the cover of his book, trying to imagine in my mind the story he was experiencing. Sometimes he’d tell me what he was reading and sometimes he wouldn’t. Perhaps the story was too tragic or magnificent for me to appreciate. It must not have been for me to know.
One day, the cover of the book changed. There was no dramatic picture or intriguing scene. I had no indication of what was happening in the story of this book. The cover was black. The edges of the pages were silver, and I wondered if he would finish this one like he finished the others. He always finished.
Sometime after my dad began reading this new book, I realized he was staying up later and later. I knew this because the hallway light remained on longer and longer. I wondered what was continuously compelling my dad to stay up until almost morning. The glow from the hallway and kitchen, along with my curiosity about the grand story I must be missing, invited me to go see him.
My dad was leaning over the black book, a cigarette between his fingers, his United States Marine Corps tattoo peeking out beneath his t-shirt sleeve, and a tall Tupperware cup filled with RC in front of him.
When I asked my dad what was in the book, he told me the most amazing story I have ever heard–one that I could not have dreamed up based on my best extrapolations from covers past. It was simple, rich, and lovely. He told me that God had sent his son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins. There was a price I couldn’t pay, but Jesus had paid it for me. God did this because of his great love for me. My dad told me that God knew my name and loved me more than he did. I didn’t know how that could be.
Years later, I was standing in a back room at a church in Grand Ledge, Michigan. I wore a white dress, ready to walk down the aisle and marry a blue-eyed, blonde-haired farm boy on fire for this God I had grown to love with all my heart.
My dad came into the room. I smiled. He smiled. He hugged me. He looked like he was thinking about more than what was going on in the moment, but I’m sure he must’ve seen the same in me. The organist told us she would be ringing a chime twelve times at the stroke of noon. That would be my cue to walk down the aisle.
I stood there silently counting the chimes as my dad held my arm. I waited until the eighth chime and moved my weight forward to take a step. With a gentle whisper shrouding a surge of emotion, my dad said, “Not yet.”
We waited for all twelve chimes until he led me down the aisle.
Why do I tell you this?
Your heavenly Father is always thinking about something more than what is going on in the moment. There are things too marvelous for him to share, and what he tells you is only what you are meant to know. Trust that.
Your heavenly Father draws you in, like a hallway light on at night, or like the longing to know what someone is thinking but not saying. He calls you with something more than words or feelings.
Your heavenly Father gives you space for questions, but also likes it when you just sit with him quietly.
Your heavenly Father is counting the divine chimes until your next big thing. He will love you fully in every one of those transitions.
Your heavenly Father won’t lead you toward anything harmful. Like a good dad leading his daughter toward a groom who, he’s sure, will care for her, so your heavenly Father has a good thing waiting at the end of whatever you’re going through.
Your heavenly Father conceals more affection than you could fathom in the words “Not yet.” Think less of your competence to move forward and more of the splendor of his presence right now.
Your heavenly Father is a finisher. What he has started in you, he will bring to completion.
He knows all the endings. He holds all the edits.
Lastly and most importantly, your heavenly Father loves you more. He loves you more than your most monumental dream of what love could be. He loves you more.
Let him be the one you go to. Let him reveal the story of Jesus to you. Let him hold your arm and lead you. Read the black book with silver pages and find the love of your heavenly Father.
He stays up late waiting for you. Heaven’s hallway light never goes out.
Dear heavenly Father,
Let us come to you like a child eager to hear a story or to find out what her daddy is doing. Let us trust you as we wait with you in each season of life. Let us have a fresh wonder for the amazing love you have for us in Jesus Christ. Let us celebrate you by giving you glory all the days of our life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Scriptures for Reflection
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 NIV)
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them.” (John 6:44a NIV)
Reach for More
This week’s challenge is to celebrate your heavenly Father’s love. How has he loved you in Scripture? How has he loved you in tangible ways? How has he loved you in the past, and how is he loving you now? Write it down, thank God, sing about it, or do whatever comes naturally to you. Just be sure to delight in him this week–in this God who loves you more.
Please come back and leave a comment telling us about how you celebrated your heavenly Father’s love this week, or share your progress on social media using the hashtag #tgtreachformore. We would love to hear from you.
Lindsey Feldpausch is a creative writer, graphic design enthusiast, social media coordinator, and sinner saved by grace who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her worship leader/youth pastor husband and four delightful kiddos fill life with unbelievably amusing quotes and sweet snuggles. She thinks God is awesome and that the best adventure starts with saying yes to that still, small voice.