Five children! I’m still not sure how it happened. I don’t recall that Marilyn and I ever sat down and decided to have five children. One thing I do know is that God’s plans for our marriage differed somewhat to any we might have had. So while it puzzles me sometimes why God entrusted five precious humans into our care, the key word for me is entrusted. For reasons known only to Himself God quite deliberately placed Nick, Michael, James, Beth and John into our family.
Now it hasn’t been easy raising five kids. Not that I want to point any fingers or list any misdemeanours in this blog. The kids have all been very different, although there are many ways in which they are alike. Peas from a pod perhaps, to the extent that John sometimes gets mistaken for James. John even sounds like James. The kids all love sport, and they are fiercely loyal to each other. But it is the fact that the kids are all also dedicated followers of Jesus that blesses Marilyn and I more than anything else about them.
Raising a family brings many challenges for parents, and it is quite interesting now to watch our two eldest sons dealing with their sons. No matter how difficult our children might have been at times, the love that I have for them all has never diminished. Equally I know that my parents never stopped loving me, even given what I put them through at times.
So where is all this leading my fellow wayward sons and daughters? Well, the fact is that we have all been prodigals at some stage in our lives. The question is are we still prodigals? Are we walking with God, or are we walking away from God? To readers who may not believe in the God I know as my Heavenly Father I would say that He has never stopped believing in you. And He most certainly has never stopped loving you. Even the most unlovable of individuals is precious to God. Consider how much His Father’s heart must hurt for those who refuse the honour of being known as His child. Family matters, and this is but one reason (albeit a very good reason) why every single human being matters to God.
How do I know that I matter to God? I could quote John 3:16 but words from Scripture alone have never been enough to convince me. I know that I matter to God not just because it is written in the Bible that God loves me. I know that I matter to God not just because His Son Jesus took the rap for me when He died at Calvary. I know that I matter to God because He is a Father who delights to spend time with His children. And whenever I find time to spend alone with God He never forgets to tell me how much I matter to Him.
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. (Romans 8:15-16 NLT)