At the beginning of April my wife and I had a visit from our oldest son Nick, his wife Anna, and our grandson. Although our grandson is four years old, it was his first visit to our home. This is because Little Welford, as he is affectionately known on social media, was adopted into our family. That doesn’t make him any less a son or a grandson, a nephew or a cousin. It already seems as if he has always been in our family, and in a way he has. God knew all about his delayed arrival.
Nick and Anna have been learning fast about parenthood, and the trust that is essential between parents and their children. My lesson in trust took place when we went for a walk in the woods with Nick, Anna and Little Welford. The woods are a favourite family spot where we have a lot of fun, but sometimes I like to walk off alone to ponder. As I was pondering that afternoon a little hand suddenly slid into mine in an expression of trust that I hadn’t expected. Then together Little Welford and I became explorers, seeking out the carved bears that hide among the trees.
Little Welford sliding his hand into mine reminded me of the relationship that God desires with all his children: A relationship of absolute trust in all circumstances. When I think back I recall how Nick trusted me to make a bookcase for his bedroom when he was Little Welford’s age. That bookcase is still in use. Then when Nick was serving in Trinidad with a BMS Action Team in 1998 and the power supply died on an old Apple PowerBook I had passed on to him it was me he trusted to source a replacement, despite the distance between us. On that occasion I had a power supply delivered from the US within a couple of days and the four members of the Action Team were able to resume their contact with home. If anyone can fix it, Dad can!
If we can have high expectations of human relationships, why is it our expectations of God are often so low? When we fail to reach out to God, it is a breach of trust. When we neglect to talk to Him first about anything and everything, it is as if we are saying that God is too small. The temptation is to reduce His love to something within our experience, rather than acknowledging that the love of God is too big to define or ever understand. Put very simply God’s love is in the extraordinary longing that He has for us to slip our hands into His. God has big hands.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1: 3-8 NLT)