The Father’s Presence

My office sits at the end of my garden. Often, when my children get home from school, that is where I will be. Working on a sermon, or perhaps doing some planning of some sort or another…my head in several books.

As they enter the house, their Mum reminds them to not disturb me. “Daddy’s working!” she says. But that doesn’t stop our youngest of three. Five years old. Cute. A chatterbox. Stubborn.

It’s not long before I hear a little knock at the door. I open it and there she is. With a little grin on her face she whispers, “If I go and get my colouring, can I come in? I promise I won’t talk to you. I’ll be quiet.”

How can I refuse? So I smile and whisper back, “Okay, but remember, Daddy’s working.”
I watch out the window as she trots back down the garden path to gather her colouring book and pencils only to return a few minutes later.

She enters my office, settles on the carpet, and begins spreading out the colouring around her. And she colours. For thirty, forty-five minutes. Concentrating. Comfortable. Not saying a word.

You see, sometimes words don’t need to be spoken. She simply enjoys her father’s company. To be with and near me. Feeling safe…secure…close.

And me? I have an inner glow…a buzz…a warmth. “My daughter just wants to be with me.” There are few better feelings.

I share this because it gives me a little insight into what I believe our own relationship with our Heavenly Father is like. Let me try to explain.

The Psalms are full of raw, honest, down-to-earth, heartfelt words that express the depth of our relationship with God. Many times when we pray, we use words. We tell God what we need. What we want. What’s important to us. We come with our agendas. And yes, the Psalmist does that. In different ways and in different places, he expresses specific needs. But in many places the Psalmist isn’t really asking for anything, but instead expressing his need…his desire…for relationship with God. Read these few verses for an example of what I mean:

“In the Lord I take refuge…” (Ps. 11:1)
“My soul finds rest in God alone…” (Ps. 62:1)
“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you…” (Ps. 63:1)
“My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord…” (Ps. 84:2)

Do you hear the Psalmist’s words giving voice to his inner heart? He just wants to know and enjoy the Father’s presence. He wants nearness…proximity. He wants to experience the blessing that comes as a result of relationship with Him.

I’m conscious that often when I come to read the Bible, I come wanting to increase my knowledge. Or to tick off the “Bible study” box for that day. I don’t slow enough to allow myself to enjoy the God behind the words I am reading…the truths I am absorbing. I miss the fact that in His Word, God is giving Himself to me.

Or when I pray, I’m too anxious to make sure God knows my “list of needs” for that day. I’m quick to do all the talking. But I don’t slow enough to give time for God’s Spirit to stir me. (If that thought makes you uncomfortable…God ‘speaking’ in some way to you…then read Psalm 139:23-24. The implication in those verses is surely that the Psalmist is ‘listening’ to God.)

My daughter’s visits to my office, her time to simply be with me, makes me realise that this is what my Heavenly Father wants for me. To enjoy his presence. To know Him. To be…not needing to perform or achieve…but simply to enjoy Him.

May the God who created us for relationship with Himself, lead you deeper and deeper into enjoying Him. Amen.

Copyright © 2015 by Insight for Living UK. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Simon Lang is a graduate of Oak Hill Theological College and serves as Pastoral Care Representative for Insight for Living UK. Simon is also a pastor of a church in Beckenham.