Today is Father's day, and as such, I want to share a personal story of what God showed me through my own kids yesterday. My youngest son turned 3 (My last baby is not a baby any more!), and so for his birthday, as well as to celebrate my second eldest's "Rebirthday" as we call it (he was baptized last Sunday), we went to a large city an hour from our small town for Chinese food, and to go to the lake that was there. It was a great experience, and we had a wonderful time. Something struck me though. When we got to the lake, the older boys (Ages 4, 6 and 8) all ran into the water immediately, enjoying swimming and splashing. Our 3 year old was terrified. I put on his floaty/life vest, and took him out into the water up to my knees. In spite of his protests, I held his hand, and took him out. Tears slowly began to fade as he watched his brothers and our guests having a good time, and then he let go of my hand and began splashing (though he made sure his body was touching mine at all times). After a while, he began to wander slowly from touching me to standing near me, never going too far off, and making sure I was there. Soon, he had confidence (so long as I was near at hand) to splash around, and have fun with his brothers. God struck me with how I need to be like my 3 year old in that moment. God calls us out to places that may terrify us at times. We may cry, but, gently, he leads us by the hand, and He shows us that, though we may be afraid He is with us. Serving God, sharing the Gospel (Good News), and serving others is SCARY. You WILL offend someone (Jesus did), but Our Father sends us His Holy Spirit, and He is never far from us. He promises to never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), and has proven so time and time again. We are safest at our Father's Side, though He may lead us to things that are terrifying. He was with the three thrown into the Furnace and Daniel in the Lion's Den (Book of Daniel). He was with the Prophets, even as the people of Israel defied, be a and killed them, and He was with His son in His ministry, and glorified Him at the resurrection. and those are promises for US! Trust that His words are true. He will not abandon us. He will not leave us, and He will never forsake us.
Hebrews 13 English Standard Version (ESV)
Sacrifices Pleasing to God
13 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. 4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tent[a] have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
18 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. 19 I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner.
20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us[b] that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
22 I appeal to you, brothers,[c] bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. 23 You should know that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom I shall see you if he comes soon. 24 Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those who come from Italy send you greetings. 25 Grace be with all of you.