This time last week some of our family were at Spring Harvest getting our spiritual batteries recharged. Spring Harvest is an annual event in the UK and takes place in Minehead and Skegness where the organisers rent out coastal holiday sites. Very large marquees (Big Tops) are erected and used to hold the main events each day. It is my understanding that the Skegness Big Top can seat 4,000 people.
In addition to the main events there are separate streams for children and youth, plus a range of seminars and other events. The facilities of the holiday camps are also available to Spring Harvesters, most of them for no charge. This includes the fun fair, a huge ‘splash’ swimming pool, and play areas for smaller children.
We were at a play area on Tuesday lunchtime with our eldest son and our daughter-in-law. All of a sudden our son headed into the play area at warp speed emerging with our grandson who was screaming and had blood pouring from his mouth. The little chap had fallen and managed to bite into his lip. The next day at the play area I shadowed our grandson protectively. Actually we had great fun running around, going down the twisty slide, playing hide and seek, and clambering on the apparatus.
That evening Marilyn and I absconded from the main worship event in the Big Top and joined with the 18-30s, as we have on occasions in previous years. The teaching session was split into four and taken by four different people. Lucy, the final speaker, asked if we sometimes viewed Jesus and God as ‘good cop, bad cop?’ The suggestion was that Jesus is easier to understand, while God is sometimes viewed as an unapproachable Father with a big stick to punish sin. Lucy challenged us to close our eyes and find a place where Jesus could take us to meet God on a face-to-face basis.
Initially the ‘close the eyes and use the imagination bit’ seemed somewhat strange to this middle-aged blogger, but I complied. I envisaged asking Jesus where God was in the storms, and I thought about the worst storm I experienced during my seafaring days, and put myself back on the bridge of that ship. Then a strange thing happened, something that is completely outside of my experience. Suddenly I found myself back in the holiday camp playground where I was the small child running wildly and dangerously from one piece of apparatus to another, closely followed by a fiercely protective and loving God. Then my eyes started to leak as God overwhelmed me with His love and reminded me that He wants me to enjoy a face-to-face hand-in-hand experience with Him. Every day God is waiting for me to run up behind Him and slip my hand into His.
See what great love the Father has for us that He would call us His children. And that is what we are. For this reason the people of the world do not know who we are because they did not know Him. Dear friends, we are God’s children now. But it has not yet been shown to us what we are going to be. We know that when He comes again, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is. 1 John 3:1-2 NLT