He hugs me tight, holding me close a second longer as though he wants to send his gentle strength with me. Before he speaks goodbye to me he speaks over me, speaks about me to Another, words of blessing, of love, of hope and trust. He has given me so much, this precious father of mine. But this is the greatest of all, this blessing in which he places me into the arms of another Father, this moment when earth and heaven merge and I hear the blessing that since creation has been spoken over humankind now spoken over me, spoken this time through the familiar voice of my father. Two fathers, both blessing, the one through the other.
Among the first words spoken when this world was new were words of blessing. The startling statement comes right after the repeated “Let there be”s, and before the commissions and command.
"God blessed them." (Genesis 1:28)
It is among the first things we learn about this Other. He is a blessing God, one who delights to give, to love, to embrace, to cherish. How is it that I still fear complete surrender to these arms which long only to bless? Why do I still hold back when he reminds me that he holds nothing back from me?
“He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?” (Romans 8:32)
Have I been so awed by the power of the One whose words birthed us that I have failed to hear the gentle heartbeat of love that conceived us? Or perhaps I have focused on the commands and failed to see that they are an overflow of the blessing, an invitation to be so drawn into the center of the blessing that we become part of the blessing.
Or perhaps, along with the first humans (and every one since?) I have fallen for the lie that God is holding out on us, keeping back the best, holding us down instead of lifting us up. Of course, few of us would state it so bluntly. But is it not that subconscious fear that causes us to ask “why?” when we lose our health or career or someone we love? Is that not the reason behind our anxiety when life feels unpredictable and out of control? Why should I need to be in control if I am confident that I am safe in the arms of a Father who longs to bless?
How can I learn to live in the truth that God is a God who blesses, rather than continuing to live in the lie so ingrained in us since the fall? I can start by listening to the longing in the voice of the One who calls in a myriad of ways. Yesterday it was through a waiting elevator when I was running late, through a golden clouded love note written in the sky. Today He calls through Brian Doerksen’s “Song for the Bride”:
RETURN TO ME - SONG FOR THE BRIDE
From the ancient days until today I have inspired prophets and poets And at the heart of every message Are these three words Return to me I am your Creator – Return to me I am your Redeemer; Your Father – return to me I am your husband – return to me
I have longed to hold you in my arms
And take all of your fear away
I will take your filthy rags and make them clean
If you receive my love, if you will receive my love
Return to Me and hear my Spirit say
In repentance and rest is your salvation
In quietness and trust is your strength
Today may we each take our place with the rest of creation listening to the heartbeat of the One who waits and calls and pours out blessing upon blessing, longing for us to notice.