I don’t travel much anymore. I used to, once upon a time, long ago, before the children, but now I am very selective as to where I will go speak, and how many days I will be away. It was a choice made based on learning from the mistakes of others, men who were valiant and strong, well-spoken and passionate, but who in the latter years of their lives chocked down the bitter cup of seeing their families fall apart due to their not being present in the former years. I’ve had this conversation with laymen and ministers alike, and no, I do not believe it is selfish, or rebellious of me not to be on the road nine months out of the year anymore. Nor do I believe it is something God requires of me. He gave a wife so that I might be a husband. He gave me daughters so that I might be a father, not so they would know me as the disembodied face on Skype. This past weekend I spoke in Indiana and had to spend a night away from home. Since I had to speak on Saturday night, then again on Sunday morning, it didn’t make sense to drive the four or so hours back to do it again a couple of hours later. I started driving back right after Sunday service and was home by late afternoon. As I walked through the door, my eldest came and gave me a big hug, and said, “I missed you, Tati,” while her little sister came and hugged my leg with a big smile on her face. I thought about that moment for most of the day yesterday, trying to figure out why it had the effect it did on me. By early this morning, I think I’ve put enough of the pieces together to articulate why I believe my heart melted the way it did when my daughters came to hug me, and my eldest said she missed me. Looking back at the moment I couldn’t help but note that my daughter didn’t say ‘what did you bring me.’ She didn’t look behind my back to see if I was hiding anything, she didn’t arch her eyebrows and put her hands on her hips waiting for me to produce something other than myself, it was me she missed. I would not love her any less if she’d asked what I’d brought her first; she is my daughter, and I love her to the moon and back. However, I don’t believe it would have warmed my heart to the extent it did either. As I’ve said in the past, having children makes you understand the love of God on a whole new level, and this experience Sunday night gave me some insight into how God sometimes feels as well. Do we miss Him, His person, His presence, His embrace, His voice, or are we just interested in what He may have brought us? Do we miss Him whenever we are not in fellowship with Him, or is whether or not he brought us the right toy our only concern? It’s not that I didn’t bring anything for my daughters. I stopped at a store along the way and bought a couple of plush toys because I always bring them something when I’m away, but the fact that they were more interested in my being there than what I had perchance brought them made my heart sing to no end. No, God will not love you any less if all you do is ask what He brought you, but I promise it will make His heart sing if rather than inquiring about things, you rejoice in His presence alone. He is enough; more than enough, and when our desire becomes singular, in that He is all we need, we come to realize that all these other things will be added on but are ultimately utterly irrelevant.
When you are satisfied with His presence alone, though He might bless you in other ways, the blessings will not be the focal point of your relationship, His presence will be.
With love in Christ,
Posted on 5 November 2019 | 1:02 pm