Don’t Avoid Daddy
I grew up in simple times. When fear was of big dogs, spiders or of making Daddy mad because you misbehaved. When grown-ups could be trusted, and when there was a neighborhood store to supply your basic needs… and where you could,when you talked Mom into it, (begged for her indulgence would be a better word for it) purchase a few choice treats. Even a kid could shop for their mom and dad. Transactions were uncomplicated. We simply said, “Put it on our bill.” Our parents could come in and settle up later. Part of growing up was getting old enough, and responsible enough to be sent on this short excursion.
When you’re very young you see the world in a certain way… misconceptions and fear can cause you to make major errors in judgment. Trust… fear…. and my early conditioning on how things were done, soon led the boy that I was, into childish and foolish errors.
I had made several trips to the grocer before the day of what I’ll call The Incident. No doubt I felt confident in my store-going-prowess but, I was soooo.. wrong. My memories of The Incident, begins with me being assigned a simple charge. I was outside playing when Dad called… handed me a small sum of money and sent me on an errand to the store. I put the money away and hurried confidently to fulfill my given task. I suppose that generally the pattern was always the same… grab the goods.. rush to the counter and tell them to put it on our account; then I would hurry out the door. Normally a good plan, but this time I had money, which of course I promptly forgot I had! Somewhere between the store and home, I remembered the money and Dad’s orders to use it, and make sure to bring back the change. Oh No! I had strayed from the plan! I was suddenly engulfed by fear, and like a weary swimmer desperate for land, I began to panic. I didn’t really know what Dad would do, but I was sure I was in trouble now. I rushed back. Fear gnawing at my little heart. I had but one plan. I must give this money to the store clerk. To my mind it seemed a good plan, I thought I could fix everything and no one will know.. but when I pulled on the handle the door was locked. Closed. The store was closed. Now what? I had a plan and was determined to make it work. But how? Why of course! Put the money under the door. Of course it was a foolish thing to do…. if by some miracle the money remained there until morning (the trusting side of me, no one would steal it) how would they know why the money was there or who left it. Looking back now, it was an unwise course of action. Panic does strange things to a young mind.
Having completed phase one of my ill advised plan I moved to phase two. Return with the goods to Dad. One problem though, what about the change? One hope… and only one remained in my mind… maybe he would forget! This is how it went down … I rushed in and left what I was commanded to retrieve… then flew outdoors, all while trying to not appear suspicious. Now, all I needed to do was stay out of sight for awhile. For a time I thought my scheme had worked, but every moment was a terror and a dread. My thoughts were always.. avoid contact at all cost, and my fervent desire was for the call to accountability to pass.
Dad did remember though… he called and I obediently came. Then there were his questions, and my tears. But what happened next, I did not expect. He explained the flaws in my plans so I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice, and forgave me. The fear and dread created by my failure passed, and there was no storm. The sky was dark and threatening… but I was spared by mercy. All that remained, all that was left was peace, and a life lesson learned. I was so afraid of his reaction. I truly believed the best plan was to keep away from his presence and hope for the best. I was wrong. There was no peace in that journey.
Turn into the storm, face your failure… it’s the shortest way through. Avoidance is the long way ’round with unsettled seas, and a maelstrom seething off the port. Always… you will live in dread of the moment of being caught. Always… you feel pursued by questions you fear to answer. When we contemplate our relationship with God, guilt often distorts reality. We fail at our responsibilities and think He wants nothing to do with us… the truth is that He knows when we fall-short, but His love for us is never lessened. When we fail, confession is an important first step, but we will find ourselves avoiding Him again if our concepts of Him are flawed. God’s presence may remind us of our failures and cause some discomfort, but our sin is what is causing us pain. Better a little chastisement and pain than living with the cancer of unresolved, and unforgiven guilt.
Does God seem to you like an impatient and demanding father, who gives orders and then waits to hand out praise or punishment, bruises or flowers? Or does His admonitions bring to mind a loving guide? His words may chafe but you know they bring an opportunity for growth. And when He does cause pain, see Him as the physician plying His skills to save.
When we know, and feel with every fiber of our being, that the earnest desire of our heart is only to be found in His presence, then all our energies flow in that direction. No reason to hide, no reason to fear, and no reason to despair. All things good are anticipated in His presence. That thought is echoed by the words of the song, “Lord of My Heart”.
As a hart longs for the water brooks
so longs my soul for thee;
As a dry land longs for a coming rain
and a captive to be free.
As night awaits the coming day
and winter the birth of spring;
so I await my master, my savior, my King.
The time has come friend to sweep aside the lies that keep us from coming near God.
— Revised Standard
Psalms 16:11 Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy
presence there is fullness of joy,
in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.