Abide

wholehearted: intimacy, courage and freedom in God

When God ran

on February 13, 2015
I shed a few tears this Christmas. I felt guilty that I wasn’t more excited about Jesus’ birth, but as the morning unfolded, and I set the Christmas table, there was sadness that people who would usually be with us to celebrate, were absent. It was my first Christmas since my step-father had passed away, beautiful friends who were like family to us had moved too far away to do our usual get together, and a fractured relationship, left my heart feeling sad and grieved.
I prayed a lot that morning that God would give me His joy, that I could shift my focus from the pain I felt to the amazing gift of Jesus. And in that place of heartache, God met me. He reminded me that relationships matter, that in fact, at the very core of Christmas was a desire to restore relationships, God’s desire to restore relationship with us. He would pay the ultimate price in giving His Son Jesus to restore us to Himself, to bring us into a beautiful intimate relationship.
I love the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15: 11-32). The son in the story  has set off to live his own life and in doing so, squanders the entire inheritance his father has given him. When he finally comes to the end of himself, he decides to return home to ask if he can be a servant in his father’s home. But the Father in the story, waits patiently for his son to return and when he does finally return, the father embraces him back and throws a huge party to celebrate his son’s return. He doesn’t accept him as a servant but restores him as a son. God is the father in that story, who stands waiting and watching for his child to return to Him and we are His children who often chose to go our own way.
Verse 20 says ‘But while he (the son) was still a long way off, His father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; He ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.’ That’s who my God is! That’s the father heart of God! He has such passion for relationship to be restored that He would RUN to meet us! God’s heart is one of compassion for those who are lost and out of relationship. He runs to us, throws His arms around us and restores us to sonship.
I had such a special Christmas! In spite of the people missing at my table, I was reminded that relationships matter to God. Because just like me, God doesn’t want anyone missing at the table. He understands the ache in our hearts for those missing. He gets it! And in that moment of reminding me that Christmas is all about relationship, the heaviness of my heart lifted and there was such thankfulness and beauty in knowing God’s empathy and heart for me. Those places of hurt and pain, where our heart is overwhelmed, are the places God longs to meet us and pour out His love over us.
I am in awe of God’s extravagant love, His desire for an intimate relationship with us, His willingness to give everything to restore us to Himself. His love is exquisite, beyond comprehension and generous beyond belief. His heart is for you and for those who are yet to know Him. Let’s continue to open our hearts to His love, to allow Him to wash over those places of pain and heartache that we can love others as He first loved us.
You are loved beyond measure! And God is running to meet you.
x

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