“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge…His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and His circuit unto the ends of it.”
Psalm 19: 1, 2, 6
“Which art in heaven.”
“Love Divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven, to earth come down,
Fix in us thy humble dwelling,
All thy faithful mercies crown!”
What visual image comes to my mind when I hear the words, “Our Father”?
How does it make me feel to know my “Father” – the King of the Universe is ruler of heaven and earth?
“God has two thrones: one in the highest heavens; the other is in the lowliest heart.”
One of the joys of living quite a way out of town in the mountains is that I am frequently able to have the starry, night sky leave me breathless. Albert Einstein once noted that a human could be only half an atheist when they looked up into the heavens at night. I’ll even expand on his thought. I don’t know how it is possible not to believe in God when you are gazing up into a night sky.
The other morning, unable to sleep at 3 a.m., I walked outside on the patio. The world was quiet. I appeared to be the only person stirring around. Other than the soft whistle of the wind through the juniper and pine trees – all was still. The moon, just a sliver, cast only a very soft light, so the stars seemed to pop out of the sky – they were so bright. And the sky was covered wall-to-wall with thousands upon thousands upon thousands of these twinkling wonders.
I can’t tell you how I felt at that moment but one word is “overwhelmed.” To think that in the vastness of this magnificent universe, God cares for me, individually and personally is one of those incomprehensible miracles that as a human I find difficult to put into words.
I think this is why Jesus, when sharing with His disciples words they could use when talking with their heavenly Father, not only wanted to remind them of the personal nature of their relationship with God – their loving Dad – but He also wanted them, and us for that matter, to remember not only where our Father resides but also what He rules over.
I’ve heard some people say, “Well, God is up in heaven. He’s so far away. He’s an absentee God to me.” As you repeat the words, “Our Father, who art in heaven,” have you ever felt, just a tiny bit, like heaven and earth were just too far apart for God to be actively involved in every event, every detail, every problem, and every need in your daily life? Believe me, I’ve wondered sometimes.
But as I studied more about this special prayer we call the Lord’s Prayer, I had a new thought – at least for me. Then I found out as I read that before this idea entered my mind, others who were studying long ago came up with the same wonderful revelation before I had it. The Lord’s Prayer doesn’t remind us of a distant God, instead it reminds us of a capable God.
You see, Jesus wanted us first to address God the same way He did – as “My Father.” He wanted us to enjoy the intimacy and closeness He felt with His loving Father. But there was more Jesus wanted us to understand.
As God’s Son – the messenger to earth destined to show us the Father in human flesh – Jesus wanted us to understand the unlimited resources we, as God’s children and heirs, have at our disposal. When we call on “Our Father who is in heaven,” we are connecting with our “Dad” who has the entire universe under His loving control.
From the creative beauty of the night sky to the majestic mountains to the mighty oceans to the intricate human body – God’s abilities are seen in every living creation.
So Jesus tells us, when you feel small, insignificant, and incapable – like a speck of sand, like a drip of water, like a fleck of dirt – look to your Father in heaven and realize if He can operate the universe, He certainly can help you balance your life! I find a whole new meaning to the words, “Our Father who art in heaven” when I think of how tiny I am and how great God is and yet He invites me to plug myself into His unlimited capableness!
One of my favorite writers, Joy Cowley, who lives in New Zealand, expresses this idea much better than I can in her poem, Smallness:
“God of endless galaxies
You come to me in the smallest space
Of my existence, the child space,
And as often as I claim my littleness
You meet me with an eagerness of giving.
I receive the jewel of your presence
In the detail of the moment.
God in the dew on a cobweb,
God in the notes of a bellbird,
God in the curve of a fern frond
And the shining path of a snail.
Love that cannot be measured,
When you hold me in my smallness,
A gentleness encloses me,
As soft as a sparrow’s wing,
And healing drops like a feather,
On my wounded heart
And in a song filled instant,
Life becomes simple again.
Help me to protect my smallness,
For there is within me
A disciple who is impressed
By big and powerful things
And that disciple always tries
To send the little child away.
Knowing my smallness
Is knowing the kingdom of heaven.”
When I feel my size is so small – my Father in heaven reminds me of His size – so big! Super big! Big enough to take my breath away when I look up into the sky at night!
“I have found my
Heaven on earth,
Because heaven is
God, and God is in
Elizabeth of the Trinity
(1880 – 1906)
“Good is always near you and with you; leave Him not alone.”
“Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best – as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with You and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes, Yes. Yes.”
Matthew 6: 9-13
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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