I need to take care of a little business today before I get into today's blog. I got a call from my "neighbors" and their "daughter" asking why they were not referred to as "best friends" and "niece". The names were withheld to protect the innocent (I think that's what Elliott Ness used to say). Truth is they are best friends, for many years and their names are Rock and Monya Griffin, and my niece's name is Catelyn (Sonny's owner) and I love her dearly. Now I have completed my first Editor's Retraction, Editor's Correction or whatever you call it. If you are confused, read my last blog.
My Dad was a quite man. Didn't have a lot of words, but was a master communicator with his eyes and his posture. I could get a clearer message from him by just the way he looked at me, or a hug, pat on the head or some other silent gesture. After one of my football games, I could walk into the house and he could give me a look and I knew instantly whether or not he thought I played a good game. I could ask questions and he would answer them, but I knew the way the conversation was going to go from what he already said with his eyes and his posture.
I remember going to work with him on a Saturday morning when I was a little tyke. Saturday was a finish up day for jobs he didn't quite get finished during the week. Usually, half days work. Most of the time it was just him or maybe one other person to help him on Saturdays. He was a heavy duty mechanic, working on road construction equipment. His shop was huge to a little boy, a whole other world. Magnets, wrenches, air hoses, metal scraps, springs, nuts, bolts, and on and on. My creative juices kicked in immediately and the challenge was to create something before time ran out. I usually brought one of my best friends with me. We made robots, tanks, guns, wagons, and a million other things that a little boys mind could think up. None of them were functional, but we conquered the world with them.
We couldn't wait to show my dad at the end of the day. He would always smile and rub our heads and say something like, "That's pretty neat boys! Take it home and show mommy." Definitely some of the best memories of my boyhood. When he scuffed my hair and smiled at me, I could feel it all the way down to the bottom of my feet. He could have told me a hundred times, "I love you, I love you, I love you" and I would not have heard as clearly as the rub on the head and the smile. I thought he was so proud of me, when in reality what we made was totally useless and had no value at all. I now know that it was our effort and our creativity that he was proud of, not the finished product. He wanted to encourage that part of me, knowing that someday that creative drive in me would create something that would make life better for others. He always told me I was going to do great things.
Well, the truth is I haven't, but 50 years later I am still trying with all the creative drive I have in me. I still draw strength from those head rubs and smiles. I can still hear him tell me that someday I am going to do great things. The love of a father, in a quiet but powerful way never dies.
God has never scuffed my hair or even spoke words that I could hear, but I have clearly got the message that He loves me in a lot of ways. Sometimes, with a childish imagination, I picture God with these huge mechanical arms moving everyone around, in and out of each others lives. Bringing the right people with the right words or the right actions at the right time into the right person's life. It is through these people encounters that God is telling us that He loves us.
Have you received an encouraging word to continue something when you were just about to quit because you thought it was doing no good. That is God saying, "I love you!" Have you ever received a teary "thank you" when you thought your act of kindness was unnoticed. That is God saying, "I love you!" Maybe a word letting you know, "you are making a difference!" That is God saying, "I love you!" A smile, a hug, a pat on the back, a wink, a hand shake, these are all ways that God uses to tell us He loves us.
But the one we miss the most, is probably the most powerful. It is those moments when something inside of us tells us, "good job, that was the right thing to do." Most of us have not developed the habit of listening for the voice of God in our spirits. We have to depend on the messages He sends through others and that is so important, but sometimes we desperately need to hear Him say to us in our spirit, "Well done, good and faithful servant, I love you." It is that inward feeling that God is speaking to you. You may not always know exactly what He is saying, but just to know He is speaking provides a tremendous amount of strength and encouragement. If it is a word of correction receive it. He speaks it because He loves you. If it is a word of encouragement, receive it because it is spoken out of love. Whatever it is, receive it because He loves you.
I have a challenge for you. Find some time today and go to a place where you won't be distracted and do this little exercise. Out loud, speak these words: "God speak to my heart, my spirit. I am listening." Then listen. Don't guide your thoughts, just listen. In that real moment, I believe you will experience an unbelievable connect between earth and heaven. You may know exactly what He is saying, but HE WILL SPEAK! It may just be, "I hear your cry." On the other hand you may be impressed to do something. If you feel you need to hear something specific, don't be afraid to ask Him to say it. Maybe you need to simply hear Him say, "I love you", then say, "God, in my spirit, let me hear, "I love you." You may be surprised what wells up inside you. Don't miss that still small voice simply because you don't take the time to speak and listen. He so desperately wants you to know that He loves you. Hear it right now! Listen! You will need to hear it along the journey. Speak, listen and JOIN THE JOURNEY!