What the Father Cherishes
I have always wondered what it was like in heaven after Jesus left. Being a perfect place do you think there was a hole in the daily routine? Did God look to the seat on His right with mourning knowing His Son was on a mission, one of love but of great pain as well? Have you speculated as to what memories and moments God cherishes in heaven as He reflects on those He loves but are absent from Him?
I can only reflect on the things as a father that I have cherished believing that maybe God the Father would cherish these things as well. I remember once taking a team of college students to work in the remote river community of Berrydale in the parish of Portland Jamaica. My son Sam was about five at the time and I figured he was able to handle a trip that was a bit more “roughing it” than the usual. Sending materials ahead for the job we loaded air mattresses, food, tools, and personal luggage for the team of 12. Having built a church and preschool in the community several years before it was time for some much needed repair to buildings and encouragement for the small congregation meeting there.
Berrydale trips were always an adventure for Americans with the three hour ride taking us deep into the hills and several years back in time. Cheerful faces of the raft captains always greeted us as they jockeyed their long bamboo rafts into position eager to assist loading and ferrying all of the materials and supplies across the Rio Grande River. Bit by bit everything is stowed on the rafts, poled across the flowing water and hauled up the steep far bank to be stacked in the church and school, our home away from home for the week.
Sam was experiencing many new things along with the team, meals caught, dressed and cooked over charcoal fires, pit toilets and sleeping on hard concrete floors. Everyday someone would hike with Derval to his farm up on a nearby plateau to bring down fresh pineapple, coconut and bananas. Some trekked back dirt footpaths to visit shut-ins while others teamed up painting and repairing the church in the hot, stifling humid river valley air. At day’s end, drenched and exhausted, we packed up tools, changed into swimming suits and headed up river to a stunning waterfall to take showers before running down our dinner. Great water pressure! At that time each day Sam and I would pull away and spend some time playing in the shallows trying to catch whatever darted around. It was a good adventure for all involved.
While driving home with expectations of warm showers, soft beds and food not previously someone’s pet I asked Sam what he enjoyed most about the weekend. After hiking mountain trails, swimming in rivers and playing in waterfalls he said “spending time alone with you catching tadpoles.” That is a cherishable moment for a father – your child wanting to spend time with you! I still treasure that conversation as well as many more with those I love – they are like little jewels precious and valuable.
Jesus was a kind of Son that wanted to spend time alone with His Dad. In His separation while on earth he pulled away as a priority to spend intimate conversations with his father; I have to think that these were the highlights of many of His days. Can you see God with a smile on His face as He listens to His Son’s heart, taking joy in just the thought that His Son values this moment as well? What a gift of joy to all involved! You know what though? God cherishes the same intimate conversations with us. He treasures them so highly that he saves our prayers in heaven – deemed as precious to Him as the sparkling gems and burnished streets of gold surrounding His throne. In Revelation 5: 8 we find that “the four living creatures and the twenty four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” God saves our prayers in a keepsake box for His most cherished memories and repeatedly takes joy in them until we will finally join Him.
Give the gift of quality time spent with all of those that love you this Christmas. Take time to draw away and tell your heavenly father about your day. This is precious to Him. Take time to draw away with those whom you love on earth this Christmas season as well – as a father I can tell you it is a gift most cherished.
This daily devotion is written by John Key