March 16, 2011

A few weeks ago, I made my first trip to Texas. God Bless Texas!

There were about six of us men gathered around a table having a big burger. Did you know that everything is bigger in Texas including burgers? Our conversation led to the area of ministry that we all are involved in to one degree or another. We all lead men’s teams or are involved somewhat in men’s ministry. Four of the six guys told stories of how they grew up without a dad or how their dad wasn’t involved much in their life. How tragic! I was one of those guys.

Just a few days ago I read a tweet by Rick Warren that stated, “Growing up with an absentee father can cause you to intellectualize a relationship to God and struggle FEELING His smile.”

The recent struggles I’ve been facing all came rushing at me as soon as I read that. I’ve studied the grace and love of God. I know He loves me unconditionally. I never feel judged by Him.

But, candidly, 2011 has been a very difficult year for me so far. I’ve had questions about finances, why my family has been sick, and why people I’ve trusted have made false accusations against me. I’m a guy that doesn’t always express emotions but I began to weep. I have to admit in the middle of my struggling to find the answers to some of my questions, I found myself trying to figure out what I’ve done to place myself in this situation. I found myself trying to work out the issues in my mind. I almost came to the point of bargaining with God to find an answer. I was intellectualizing my relationship with God. I couldn’t feel His smile. Despite knowing in my heart He cared, I was trying to find this kind of approval; this smile. What was I doing wrong to deserve this lack of answers in my life?

Let me assure of one thing…struggles do not always equal God’s punishment! Please, don’t intellectualize your relationship with the Father this way. Just ask Job, Paul, King David, Daniel, Stephen, missionaries around the globe, and yes, me! People will try to tell you that this is the case (Job’s friends were relentless with him). Once you’ve searched your heart and asked God to do the same for you, recognize that this could be an opportunity for faith to grow.

James 1: 1-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

There are still a few areas of my life where I’m still seeking answers. There are areas where my faith needs to grow. There are areas where God is perfecting me. Yet, I am confident that my Father sees me and is smiling. Why? He sees growth! He sees…His son!

Galatians 4: 6-7 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

The word, Abba, means “Daddy.” I am His boy! I am an heir of His kingdom. Are you struggling in areas of your life where you find yourself intellectualizing your relationship with God? Join me and just stop doing that! God is smiling. You are His boy. He is reaching down to grab your hand with His strong hand. It’s the picture of a dad helping his son stand up. I had this revelation this past weekend after my son fell on a walking trail. I reached down to help him stand up. In that instant, God spoke to me…He was doing the same for me. Sure, I made my own son stay on the ground so I could snap the picture, but it spoke 1,000 words to me in that moment.

Daddy God, thank you for your love to me! Help me to not intellectualize my relationship with You. I see Your smile of approval! Let your work be completed in me. Amen!

– Article contributed by David Giles, ARCA Chaplain for Master’s Men – Redline Racing.