Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

Who Sees Who?

One night during the WWII German blitzkrieg of London, a father and his small son ran from their burning home looking for another place of shelter from the bombs. The father jumped into a large shell hole in their yard then yelled to his son to jump. The boy hesitated and said, “Father, I can’t see you!” “But I can see you,” replied his dad, “Jump!” And so he did…safely into the waiting arms of his father.

Sometimes the night is very dark…very dangerous. All our usual places of refuge have been reduced to rubble. The smoke is thick. Our vision is hindered. Our hearts are racing. All around us is noisy confusion. Where will we find the safety we need? In what shall we hope? We can’t see our Father. Maybe our doubts have been loud and convincing lately. Maybe our own sin has been eloquent in its testimony against us. “You are not a real Christian, it says. You can’t be serious! Do you really think God could love someone like you?” And as this onslaught continues to assail us, we feel ourselves wavering.

And so we speak…”Father, I can’t see you. The pain hurts too much. My tears blind me. My past won’t leave me alone. My failures mount up. Guilt and embarrassment overwhelm me. They consume me. I am not worth Your trouble. All I do is mess up. So often it feels like there is nothing at all good in me. You seem so distant. Are You there? I know You are there for others who are just so much better than I am. How could I expect You to be there for me? I don’t expect it! Father, do you hear me? If I thought You were near me, I’d say to you, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinner.’ Father, I don’t want you to depart, but I can’t think You’d stay with me. Will You stay with me? Would One such as You…could One such as You, love one such as me? You are there, aren’t you? I’d love to jump into Your strong arms…or to just collapse into them. If only I could think You wanted me to. The night is closing in on me. I don’t think I can keep breathing. I am cold and alone and lonely.”

Listen…what is that I hear…Who is it that makes reply? It is your Father and mine! And what does He say, from His home in the eternal ages, through His magnificent plan to save us all, in the life of His Son given in our stead…yes…what does He say, Who has done it all for us? “Jump, for though you cannot now see Me, I always see you. If you can’t jump, collapse into My arms…I’ll catch you. Let go, I’ll hold you. Be still and know that I am God…your God. It’s not the strength of your faith…it’s My strength. It’s not your ability to be good, it’s My ability to be true. It’s not all you have figured out, it’s that you are Mine. Yes…you are Mine. In all your questionings and confusion, I hear your faith. Maybe it’s weak at this moment. But it’s real. That’s what counts with Me. It’s not the purity of your love for Me, it’s the breadth, length, height and depth of My love for you. I’m here to stay. I will never leave you or forsake you or fail you. Jump into my arms and be safe with Me!”

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5 thoughts on “Who Sees Who?

  1. Ok Doug. Have you been inside my brain? Your whole 3rd paragraph is a very familiar rant. It is my near-constant companion. I want your last paragraph to become my friend instead. I really have no reason to doubt Him. He didn’t leave me! I’m the one who ran away. And when I came to my senses, did He shun me? Nope. He ran to meet me!! My stubborn heart just will not hang on to that most days. But I want it to be able to. I think hearing reminders of it helps me to start to believe it. I read of His love every day in the Word. I hear it from good people like you and Rex and other friends that God has placed in my life now. Keep reminding me…it is good for my heart. Thank you for writing…you truly have a gift.

    THE LOVELY CHALLENGE TO BELIEVE THE UNBELIEVABLE IS OURS EVERYDAY, ISN’T IT, SHERRY? IT IS TOUGH DURING THE MANY TIMES WHEN SIN ONCE AGAIN HAS HAD ITS WAY WITH US TO BELIEVE THAT HE WOULD BOTHER, LET ALONE LIFT US UP AND EMBRACE US AND KEEP US WITH HIM ALWAYS FOR JOY OF US. BUT THAT’S THE TRUTH! OUR SIN IS A TRUTH. WE’VE NO INTEREST IN DENYING OR EXCUSING IT. BUT THERE IS A TRUTH GREATER BY FAR. THOSE WHO COME TO JESUS ARE KEPT SECURE IN HIS GRIP. “NO ONE CAN SNATCH THEM OUT OF MY HAND,” SAID HE (JOHN 10:28). IF NO ONE…ABSOLUTELY NO ONE…CAN SNATCH US FROM HIM, AND IF WE ARE UNWILLING TO LEAVE HIM, GUESS WHAT? IT’S ALL GOOD! WE ARE NOT ONLY WELCOME, WE ARE WANTED, LOVED, ACCEPTED, SAVED, SECURE AND CHERISHED. THINK ABOUT THE GIFT GOD GIVES TO YOU IN A DEVOTED FRIEND. FEEL AGAIN HOW GOOD THAT FEELS. AND TO BE ABLE TO THINK…TO EVEN IMAGINE…THAT THAT FRIEND LIKEWISE REGARDS YOU AS A GIFT TO THEM FROM GOD. IS THERE ANOTHER PLEASURE AMONG HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS WHICH COMPARES TO THAT? JESUS REGARDS US AS HIS GIFTS. WE ARE GIFTS TO HIM…AND GIFTS TO GOD. THE LIVING BIBLE HAS THIS IN EPHESIANS 1:11…”…WE HAVE BECOME GIFTS TO GOD THAT HE DELIGHTS IN…” I FIND THIS RICH TRUTH EMPOWERING. I KNOW YOU DO TOO, SHERRY. IN THIS SEASON OF GIFT-GIVING, I WANT TO REMEMBER THAT WE ARE GIFTS TO AND FOR GOD AND ONE ANOTHER. I DO WANT TO KEEP REMINDING YOU AND EVERY CHILD OF GOD ABOUT THE TRUTH OF HOW HE REGARDS US.
    AND THANK YOU, SHERRY, VERY MUCH, FOR YOUR KIND AND ENCOURAGING WORDS. I WONDER IF YOU KNOW HOW IT DOES LIFT MY SOUL TO FEEL LIKE, IN SOME SMALL WAY, I COULD BE HELPING ANOTHER, EVEN AS THEY HAVE HELPED ME. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS.

  2. What a great way to describe the Gospel. Thanks for the reminder of all that is wonderful about being a Christian.
    By HIS Grace!
    Mark Hodges

    THANK YOU, MARK, FOR YOUR WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT. GRACE TO YOU TOO AND TO ALL WHO LOVE OUR LORD WITH AN UNDYING LOVE.

  3. That is a very familiar prayer from my past. Interesting that most of us can say that … and yet we feel like we’re the only ones that are praying that way. We feel afraid to tell people that it’s what we feel. I hope we are starting to learn it more … we are all the same.

    What I struggle with now is that I KNOW better … I really do KNOW better. I just want to feel it … all the time … everyday … every moment. Is this possible? I don’t really believe that it is, but maybe that’s a faith issue.

    I am grateful that I know better and that I’m confident in that. It makes it so much easier on my heart to know that my feelings are misguided and are not accurate. I just wish that I could understand how my feelings can be so far off at times.

    I have so much in common with that little boy. I hear the voice, trust the voice, but would prefer to see where I’m about to jump. The key, is that I trust that voice. It has a good track record with me and I know that it’s a voice that represents a God that will not let me fall.

    I love your last paragraph and the way that you make it clear … it’s not about us. And you’re showing me in a different way, not just that life is not about me. You’re showing me that everything is about God. His love, forgiveness, truth, grace, power, authority, loyalty, tenderness … all of it … it’s all bigger than me … and it’s all that matters.

    PAIGE,
    WE ARE ALL IN THIS STRUGGLE TOGETHER. IT’S TRULY WONDERFUL WHEN OUR FAITH GUIDES OUR FEELINGS (WHEN JUPITER ALIGNS WITH MARS AND THE MOON IS IN THE SEVENTH HOUSE- smile). BUT…OFTEN…AS YOU INDICATED…IT IS NOT SO. I KNOW SOME REALLY GODLY PEOPLE (LIKE YOU), AND THOUGH I MAKE NO CLAIM TO BE SUCH…NEITHER THEY NOR I “FEEL” THIS TRUTH ALL THE TIME. BUT, LIKE YOU, WE WANT TO. WE WANT TO NOT ONLY FOR OUR OWN SOUL’S SAKE, BUT BECAUSE WE BELIEVE IT WILL HONOR GOD TO FULLY ACCEPT AND LIVE BY THIS AMAZING, OVERWHELMING LOVE IN CHRIST THAT HE HAS SHOWERED UPON US. WE WANT TO BECAUSE WE BELIEVE IT WILL BE INVITING FOR OTHERS TO COME AND GAIN THE SAME KIND OF BLESSING IN SALVATION. BUT THOUGH WE MUST CONFESS WE ARE NOT YET IN A PLACE WHERE WE CONSTANTLY LIVE IN DEEP AWARENESS OF OUR WANTEDNESS BY GOD…OUR COMPLETE SECURITY IN HIM…WE DO FIND, DON’T WE, THAT WE DON’T GO ABOUT IN THE KIND OF ABJECT FEAR THAT WE ONCE KNEW. WE DON’T SPEND HUGE PORTIONS OF TIME SERIOUSLY DOUBTING HIS CARE FOR US, DO WE? AND EVEN IF WE SHOULD SLIP INTO THAT MODE, WE’VE NOW BEEN PLACES, UNDERSTOOD ENOUGH OF SOME BEAUTIFUL RICH TRUTHS, BEEN LOVED BY ENOUGH OF GOD’S GOOD PEOPLE IN OUR LIVES, TO NOT BE ABLE TO SINK WITHOUT A TRACE, HAVEN’T WE? BUT EVEN THEN, EVEN IF WE DID THAT, EVEN IF WE WENT OFF THE DEEP END, GUESS WHO WOULD JUMP IN AFTER US? HE IS SO AMAZING! THERE’S NEVER BEEN ANOTHER LIKE HIM, NOR EVER SHALL BE.
    I CONFESS TO YOU, PAIGE, THAT I AM FEARFUL THAT WHEN MY DAY OF TESTING COMES IN EARNEST, THAT I WILL FAIL…THAT I WILL PANIC…THAT I WILL LET MY LORD DOWN. HE’S BEEN SO GOOD TO ME. HE DESERVES SO MUCH BETTER FROM ME. BUT…ALL I KNOW TO DO…IS TO TRY TO STAND BY HIM IN THIS MOMENT…TO TRY TO TAKE IN ALL HE IS WANTING TO SHARE WITH ME…TO TRY TO LET HIM USE MY OLD BODY TO DO SOMETHING GOOD FOR ANOTHER SOUL…TO DO THIS IN THIS MOMENT…AND IN THE NEXT…AND THEN THE NEXT. WHO KNOWS? I’VE HEARD THAT HE CAN GROW HEARTS. I’M COUNTING ON HIM TO THAT FOR ME…AND FOR YOU…FOR ALL WE KNOW WHO ARE LOVING HIM AND BEING LOVED BY HIM…AND WHO, LIKE US, DON’T WANT OUR LIVES DEFINED BY QUITTING ON HIM. WE WON’T DO THAT! SO WE WILL KEEP TRYING TO STRENGTHEN EACH OTHER’S HAND IN THE LORD. ONE BY ONE, WE’LL GET WHERE HE’S WANTING US TO GO. WE ARE NOT IN THIS ALONE.
    PAIGE, YOUR FAITH IN AND LOVE FOR FATHER GOD IS CONTAGIOUS. WE ARE CATCHING IT FROM YOU. WE CAN SEE THE DIFFERENCE HE IS MAKING TO YOU. WHAT A PRIVILEGE IT IS FOR US AT THAT!
    THANK YOU FOR CHECKING IN HERE…AND FOR BEING PATIENT FOR A REPLY. GOD BLESS YOU.

  4. Email Girl on said:

    Doug,

    First, I cannot go without saying that the reply to my comment on your last post moved me, filled my heart, your words made me feel “worth it”. Thank you. It’s almost as if you actually know me…even though I know we are virtually strangers. What you said about finally being able someday to release the tears I hang onto…how did you know that I yearn for that come true? I want to cry and not have to stuff it back down into my soul for fear of who might notice. I want to breathe without feeling like I’m suffocating. I want to KNOW that God loves me and is right there waiting to catch me. Thank you for what you said. I’m going to read it over and over as a reminder of what my life can be. You really have no idea what your words have done for me today and many other days. Thank you.

    Now, about your newest post…I read your 2nd & 3rd paragraph with my mouth hanging open in shock. I have no doubt I’ve thought all those thoughts and said all of those things out loud to God sometime or other. Some of them I remember specifically when I said them, how I felt asking Him those questions. Others I’ve felt in my soul yearning for an answer…a response…just a word from God to tell me He was there. I remember being about 10 years old and lying on my bed in my room looking to the ceiling. I don’t remember exactly what had happened…probably much of the same of what was always happening in my life then…but I was lying there with tears pouring out my eyes and I was literally begging and pleading with God to hold me. And then somehow He did. A peace came over me that was just indescribable…I felt Him love me in that moment. I collapsed into His loving hand. I’ve never again felt that secure with God…but I remember it vividly. Perhaps that’s what keeps me going.

    I’ve been there again and again in my life, in that place, feeling like that child again, fighting for a shred of light to guide me. I’ve begged with the same fortitude…pleaded with Him even more than when I was just a child and haven’t felt the same kind of peace. There have been a few times in recent months that I just laid down flat on my face and pleaded with Him to change my life, to get rid of my enemies, to overtake me, to make my will like His. Then, when I still don’t feel His presence, don’t know His answer, I feel like He’s done with me. My studies tell me that He’s never going to be “done” with me. But what I feel and what I know contradict and I don’t know how to let my knowledge win over my heart.

    Your last paragraph may be a good place to start though. I know that God would say all of those things if we could hear Him. I just have trouble hearing Him say them to me, or even believing that He really could. I want to be loved like that…I want to know that He will be there to catch me. I love this line in your post;

    “Jump, for though you cannot now see Me, I always see you. If you can’t jump, collapse into My arms…I’ll catch you. Let go, I’ll hold you.”

    I’m going to write that inside the cover of my Bible where I can read it often and write it on my heart. It will be there with some other special things people have said that I hold dear.

    Thank you Doug, for teaching me…for demonstrating how to walk…for helping me open my eyes to what is possible…for showing me that God is the last step out of the dark into the light……

    DEAR E-MAIL GIRL,
    YOU ARE SO “WORTH IT!” YOU ARE SO “WORTH IT.” YOU ARE SO “WORTH IT.” I HOPE THAT MORE AND MORE, DEEPER AND DEEPER, GOD WILL HELP YOUR HEART OPEN TO RECEIVE THIS FREEING AND STRENGTHENING TRUTH.
    THOUGH EVERYONE HAS THEIR OWN STORY, I’M CONVINCED THERE IS COMMON GROUND UPON WHICH WE ALL STAND AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER. THAT IS HOW I COULD DESCRIBE PARTS OF YOUR STRUGGLE…WHILE REALLY I WAS DESCRIBING PARTS OF MY OWN STRUGGLE. I DO BELIEVE THE STRUGGLE, WHILE PAINFUL, IS ESSENTIAL. ALTHOUGH, WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN THROUGH (AND ARE STILL GOING THROUGH) BEGGARS MY OWN STRUGGLE. AND I DO THINK THERE COMES A POINT WHEN THE STRUGGLE BECOMES EXCESSIVE…THE BURDEN IS JUST TOO MUCH FOR US…WE ABSOLUTELY DO NEED HELP. I BELIEVE THAT’S WHY GOD HAS PLACED US IN A FAMILY OF BELIEVERS. WHEN I GET TO BELIEVING TOO MUCH THE WORST ABOUT MYSELF OR THE BEST ABOUT MYSELF, MY FRIENDS IN JESUS HELP ME FIND AND MAINTAIN NEEDED BALANCE. E-MAIL GIRL, THERE ARE SOME WOUNDS THAT LAST A LIFETIME. THERE IS NO DELETE FUNCTION OF OUR BRAIN. WE CAN’T ERASE ANYTHING, NO MATTER HOW DESPERATELY WE WANT TO. THERE ARE SOME MISTAKES WHICH, IN THIS LIFE, WE SEEM TO NEVER GET DONE PAYING FOR. BUT THESE SOBER REALITIES ARE ONLY TRUE WHERE OTHER HUMANS ARE CONCERNED. BECAUSE, IN THE CASE OF OUR FATHER GOD, BECAUSE OF THE CROSS OF HIS ONLY SON, CHRIST, WE GET TO BE MADE BRAND NEW…WE GET TO BE COMPLETELY FORGIVEN…WE NOT ONLY GET TO START OVER…BUT WE CAN START OVER EVERY SINGLE DAY…FOR HIS MERCIES ARE NEW EVERY MORNING. HAVE YOU READ THE MESSAGE BIBLE ON LAMENTATIONS 3:21FF? Lamentations 3:21-24 (MSG)
    21 But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:
    22 God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
    23 They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!
    24 I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left.
    I LIKE THAT…HOW ABOUT YOU? WE CAN KEEP A GRIP ON HOPE, BECAUSE HE’S GOT A GRIP ON US. SAY IT OVER AND OVER…”I’M STICKING WITH GOD…I’M STICKING WITH GOD…I’M STICKING WITH GOD.” IF HE IS ALL WE HAVE LEFT, WHY THEN WE ARE MIGHTY WEALTHY…WEALTHY BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS. HE IS OUR ALL IN ALL.
    I AM GLAD FOR THE EXPERIENCE YOU HOLD IN YOUR HEART OF GOD’S PRESENCE WITH YOU DURING A TERRIBLE TIME…OF THE PEACE YOU FELT BECAUSE OF HIM. I HAVE SUCH A MEMORY AT A DIFFICULT TIME IN MY JOURNEY TOO. BUT, LIKE YOU, I DON’T REMEMBER MANY EPISODES OF THAT KIND OF CLOSENESS…ALMOST A PHYSICAL PRESENCE OF GOD. I’M NOT SURE WHY EITHER? BUT, YOU ARE I ARE GOING TO BELIEVE HE IS WITH US, EVEN WHEN WE FEEL SO ALONE, AREN’T WE? WE ARE GOING TO TRY TO TAKE THE NEXT RIGHT STEP, EVEN WHEN WE AREN’T TOO SURE, IN A GIVEN MOMENT, WHY. WE ARE GOING TO KEEP LISTENING TO HIS WORD, EVEN WHEN WE FEAR IT IS NOT HAVING ITS DESIRED RESULT IN OUR LIVES. WE ARE GOING TO PRAISE HIM, EVEN IF ITS FROM THE MIRY PIT OF OUR OWN FAILURES, REGRETS, SINS, AND WOUNDEDNESS. LET’S MAKE THIS PLEDGE. FOR IF WE DETERMINE TO HONOR HIM EVEN IN THE DARK, THERE MAY YET COME TIMES OF REJOICING THAT WE THOUGHT WE WOULD NEVER KNOW.
    PLEASE GOD, GIVE US GRACE TO BE STILL ENOUGH ON THE INSIDE THAT WE CAN LET YOU LOVE US…AND IF WE COULD BE SO BOLD, WOULD YOU PLEASE GIVE US TIMES WHEN WE EVEN FEEL DEEPLY THIS LOVE, WHICH WE ALREADY KNOW DEEPLY, BY THE FAITH YOU GIVE US, IS SO REAL.
    DEAR E-MAIL GIRL, THERE’S NOTHING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO YOU…NOTHING YOU HAVE EVER DONE OR FAILED TO DO…THERE’S NO WORD YOU HAVE SPOKEN…NO THOUGHT SO WICKED…NO INTENTION SO WRONG…NO WEAKNESS SO PERVADING…NO FEAR, THOUGH SO OVERWHELMING THAT HAS CAUSED HIM TO STOP LOVING YOU OR TO STOP SEEKING FOR YOU. OPEN YOUR HEART, IF YOU CAN…AND FEEL HIS LOVE FLOWING IN. IF YOU CAN’T DO IT RIGHT NOW, STAY CLOSE…KEEP LISTENING TO THE WONDERFUL STORY OF LOVE…HE WILL GET TO YOU…FOR YOUR GOOD. PEACE TO YOU TODAY…IN JESUS.

  5. Dennis Wilson on said:

    Doug…

    Your writing is always a fresh glass of water to a dry thirsty soul! God has gifted you with the ability to speak in such a way that truly shows just how beautiful God’s word really is…

    I am afraid as I have read over the last several posts – that I tend to relate more with how your dear brother felt than with the truth of what God says…it is a daily struggle – but thank God for brothers like you who are there to remind us about how our loving Father sees us when we cannot seem to see past the darkness of our own sins and failures.

    Thank you brother for your heart and for your words!

    IT IS SO GOOD TO HEAR FROM YOU, MY BROTHER. I AM GRATEFUL FOR THE KIND WORDS YOU SPOKE AND WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I HAVE BENEFITTED TIME AND AGAIN BY THE WISDOM OF YOUR WORDS ON THESE BLOG SITES. I AM A FELLOW-STRUGGLER WITH YOU IN THE QUEST TO MORE FULLY ACCEPT HIS GRACE AND LOVE THAT WE MIGHT MORE CAPABLY SHARE IT WITH OTHERS.
    IN SPITE OF THE STRUGGLE YOU EXPERIENCE, YOU CONTINUE TO SERVE IN WAYS THAT MANY OF US WILL NOT. I DEFINE THAT AS FAITH. I ALSO SEE IT AS COURAGE. I PRAY THAT FATHER GOD WILL GIVE YOU STRENGTH EQUAL TO YOUR DAY…EVERY DAY. I PRAY ALSO THAT THERE MIGHT BE REGULAR REMINDERS COMING TO YOU OF HOW MUCH THE PLEASURE OF OUR LORD IS PROSPERING IN YOUR WORK AND IN YOUR WAY WITH OTHERS.
    THANK YOU FOR SERVING HIM. MAY HE BLESS YOU AND THERESA AND ALL YOURS.
    I KNOW SOMETHING OF YOUR HEART FOR THE OPEN CHURCH AND HAVE BEEN BLESSED BY READING YOUR INTERACTION WITH MEMBERS THERE. IT’S GOOD STUFF, DENNIS. YOU ARE A GOOD AND GODLY MAN. WITH SUCH SACRIFICES AS YOU HAVE MADE (AND ARE MAKING DAILY), I SIMPLY MUST BELIEVE GOD IS WELL-PLEASED. PEACE IN JESUS.

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