"Bethany...it's time for your nap. Go give your daddy a kiss before sleep."
She didn't really want to nap and she didn't really want to give Daddy a kiss, either. So, without even looking at me, she gave me the quickest of kisses and was about to go on her way when...
...I stopped her.
I put my hands on her waist to keep her in front of me. She stayed...but...she made her eyes look off to the side as if to say, "Dad I know YOU like all of these snuggles and kisses and hugs...but they're not MY favorite thing. I know you want a good kiss before nap, but I really don't want to give you one." I decided to insist on her having a pre-nap affectionate moment with Daddy and said, "See Daddy's eyes???" She half-heartedly moved her eyes up to my cheekbone but no further. I persisted. "Look at my EYES." For the briefest of moments, she let her eyes look at mine; but then quickly looked away. Since that wasn't going to be good enough for me, I said, "Take your hands and grab my ears and pull my face to yours." She smiled and pulled me close and looked into my eyes long enough to hear me say:
"It's important for a little girl to look at her daddy's eyes. If she never looks at his eyes she won't be able to find out all of the things that he feels about her. Bethany, when you look into my eyes you will find out that there's so many things about my love for you that I want to tell you about."
I could tell that she listened with her ears and with her heart so when she said, "okay Daddy," I let go of her waist and let her scamper off to bed.
As she walked off, I thought to myself, "Caleb...those are exactly the words YOU need to hear. God is speaking those words to you."
I busy myself with so much. When it comes time to pray or sing praise songs or read the Bible...when it comes time to look into my heavenly Father's eyes...I have a thousand other things that I think I should be doing. They aren't even important things, either. Perhaps I'd like to check the sports scores, watch some soccer highlights, check my email, check the news headlines, check how many twitter notifications or youtube views I've gotten...etc.
Just like Bethany seemed to want to pull away from an "affectionate moment with Daddy," sadly, there seems to be the same pull inside of me. God invites me to himself and there are things inside of me that prefer something else. It's soooo sad. The Bible says it this way in Jeremiah 2:
"Be appalled at this, you heavens,
and shudder with great horror,”
declares the Lord.
“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water."
A.W. Tozer sums it up well for me when he prayed, "I am ashamed of my lack of desire." The other day I wrote a similar prayer, "God I don't yearn for you enough. Change me so that the amount of energy with which I seek you would testify to how vitally I need you for life."
My lack of desire for God is the sad part. The good news, however, is that God doesn't give up on me. Later in Jeremiah, chapter 32, it says:
"38 They will be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them. 40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me."
That means that God will forever keep speaking to me words that sound similar to the words that I spoke to Bethany earlier today.
"Caleb, come. Find me. I'm a spring of living water for you. Everything you've ever wanted, you'll find in me. I am relevant to your every problem, need, desire and emotion. Stop and take the time to look into my eyes. When you look into my eyes, you'll realize things about my feelings for you that are vital. Come. I've opened up the way for you to come."
What are some things that you "busy yourself with" instead of stopping to hear what God wants to tell you?
What do you think God would tell you if you stopped your busyness and listened for a few moments?
"You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me."
Consider taking the time to listen to some of these songs that have to do with the theme of returning to God to hear his voice.
(Taken from A.W. Tozer's The Pursuit Of God)
"O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully concious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my sould, "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away." Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus' name. Amen."