It was a rainy Saturday afternoon. I told my room mates to go on to lunch; I wasn’t hungry. Really, I wanted to be alone when I made a certain phone call. I dialed the number, heard the familiar voice. Then in a matter of moments, I severed a relationship that had been pulling me away from God for quite some time. I hung up the phone and had a good cry.
God was working on my heart. I knew that because I felt miserable about my sin. And also because I had a fresh desire to please Him. I had been trying to open my Bible, but it said nothing to me. I had tried to pray, but I didn’t know what to say. So, now I was trying this. The snipping-off-a-relationship thing. I knew it was the right thing to do, but it made me feel really alone and melancholy. And God still felt so distant.
Then, the phone rang again. It was the campus pastor. He said I had a package being delivered to the back door of my dorm. Curious, I ran down the steps, and watched a car pull up in the pouring rain. Then a man got out and ran toward my door. I watched through the window. Then, squinting through the rain, I gasped and said, “Daddy?”
My parents lived in Michigan, and my college–Liberty University–was in Virginia. So he didn’t just happen to be in the neighborhood. My dad had dropped everything and flown down to see me. I think he sensed that this was a pivotal time in my Christian journey.
Back home, over Christmas break, God had torn the lid off of some of my sin. I felt exposed and ashamed. I told my mom, “Don’t tell Dad until after I’m back at school.” I didn’t want to think about him knowing. I wanted to pretend that he didn’t.
But my dad did know. And he flew all the way to Virginia to tell me that he still loved me. After giving me a big hug, he handed me a gift and said, “Mom bought you a new dress. Go put it on, and I’m taking you out for a nice dinner.”
That night, in the car after dinner, my dad read some verses to me from Revelation 4. The church of Ephesus had “lost their first love” for Jesus. And here were the instructions: “Remember therefore, from where you have fallen. Repent and do the works you did at first.” (Rev. 2:5) My Dad told me that those instructions were for me, too. I needed to begin doing the things I did when I was first in love with Jesus. This was the way to repent! The emotions would trail behind the behavior.
That weekend was a turning point for me. I had taken a step of obedience toward God with a phone call, and then the phone rang again. God was responding with a message of love and acceptance and wisdom. And His messenger was my dad, who represented Him so well!
Friends, I don’t know what your dad is like, but I do know what your Heavenly Father is like. He has traveled much farther than a plane trip to let you know of his love. “For God so loved the world that He sent His only son…” (John 3;16) That’s the kind of love that God lavishes on you. He’s given you a new dress to wear–the righteousness of Christ. (Isaiah 61:10) And He invites you to behave like a Bride, getting ready for her Bridegroom. (Rev. 19:7)
Has God seen your sin? Yes, every bit of it. And He does bring conviction and sorrow, but not shame. Condemnation is not from God; it’s from His enemy. God is the type of Father who never wants His daughter to doubt His love. He will pursue you. He will assure you. Nothing can separate you from His love, for you are His!