Do I strive to be a better man so as to get closer to God, or do I rest in and respond to His affections for me? Do I work to get His approval, or do I abide in His affirmation of who I already am to Him? Do I try to arrange and control things in a way so that God will come close to me, or do I humbly respond to His loving advances toward me? Is it about what I can do, or is it about what He has done, is doing, and will do? Did Joshua say, “I will take Jericho and show God how much I love and trust Him.”, or did God say, “I will give you Jericho to show you how much I love you.”? Who is the initiator, and who is the responder?
The life of Jesus shows us the heart of our Abba Father. Jesus borrowed Simon Peter’s boat in order to teach the crowd. (Luke 5) Afterward He said to Simon, “Put into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon does what Jesus says, even after explaining to Him how they had worked all night without catching a thing. Then, after their nets started breaking from the strain, he had to signal another boat to help them with all the fish! Both boats were filled to the point of sinking! It is as if Jesus is saying, “Look! My Father is generous beyond measure and loves you more than you can imagine.” Jesus again displays the Fathers crazy generosity in feeding the 4,000 and the 5,000. The disciples gathered up many extra baskets full after the crowds were completely fed. Why? To demonstrate the Father’s heart toward us. Wasteful generosity. He may ask you to do a simple thing, like bring the loaves and fish, and have everyone sit in groups, or put out into deep water and cast your nets, or walk around Jericho 7 times. He may ask you to stop and talk to someone or take an unscheduled trip. But when it comes down to it all we can do is sit and watch Jesus work miracles! Watch His reckless generosity in surprise and wonder. Watch His delight in crafting a beautiful gift for you out of an impossibility, and watch it overflow out of sufficiency into crazy overabundance.
“Do not fear.”, He gently tells one who will deny Him, “I will make you fishers of men.” The wholehearted invitation of Jesus is transforming. He loves me right where I am, knowing I will fail him. He reminds me not to fear. He offers to be my guide on epic adventures. He invites. All that is necessary is trust. Trust in the furious love and tender goodness of Abba Father for me.
John calls himself the disciple Jesus loved. That is my name. I am the disciple Jesus loves. I am the man Jesus calls His friend. I am Daddy’s favored child. I am my Beloved’s and He is mine. If I do not know that, how will I trust Him? I can trust a capable, qualified, powerful person to be able to accomplish things well and in an efficient manner. But will he do it for me? I don’t know that. But if that same person was also drunk with love for me, watched anxiously at the door for me to come home, left 99 others to search for me, and was desperate for my good – I would never wonder again. My trust in him would be complete.
Abba Father is the initiator in this relationship. He always has been, even when I didn’t see it. He is overly generous to me. His plans for me are good. He doesn’t share His plans with me, but there is no need for that, since I am walking the road beside Him. Where He is I want to be – wherever. “Do not fear”, He says. And His peace floods my soul.