Before I begin this post I need to make something absolutely clear. When I speak about God as Daddy, this is only one aspect of His personality. Sadly, it seems that many Christians today fall into either of two extreme categories. Some see God only as a benign father (or grandfather); a being who always smiles at His children, turns a blind eye to their misbehaviour, and indulges them at all times with everything they want or ask for. Such a picture is a caricature, and not at all representative of the mighty God who sits enthroned upon the heavens and rules in righteousness and justice.
At the same time, other Christians see God only in terms of His righteousness and holiness – a harsh ruler who demands grovelling subservience, and is just waiting with His lump of four-by-two to crack us over the head should we dare to set one hairy toe over the line that He has drawn. This picture is equally a caricature, and not at all representative of the great God of compassion, mercy and love.
In truth, God is righteous and holy, and He demands that we should also be so. He is the King of the universe, but He is also our Abba, Daddy, and delights to bring us into a tender and intimate relationship with Himself.
I have experienced the fear of God – and no, I don’t mean “reverential awe”, which is something else entirely. Perhaps I will write about it in my next post, just to balance this one. And yes, at times I have been “smacked” by God (and deserved it.) But I have also had “kisses from Daddy” – those precious little things that God does for us that go way beyond meeting a need or answering a prayer, and are simply an expression of His love to us. Those are what I want to talk about today.
Even though I have had some wonderful experiences with the Lord, I had never really thought in terms of “kisses from Daddy” till the last few weeks. I have just come back from a holiday with my family in Queensland. The first two days there I attended a Bill Johnson conference in Brisbane (I love Bill’s ministry, and was delighted to be able to experience it in person, rather than just by recording.) Because of the distance and time factor in getting through to Brisbane’s northern suburbs from my son’s home on the northern Gold Coast, I arranged to stay for the two nights of the conference with a friend just outside of Redcliffe.
Getting to the conference on the first day was quite a hike – very early train from the Gold Coast, then a bus to Everton Park, then almost a kilometre walk to the church. By the time I arrived I was very much hoping that someone would be able to give me a lift to either the station or a bus stop in the afternoon.
Seats had been reserved for the pastors, but after I had been directed to mine another couple came along who should have had reserved seats, but for some reason had not been put on the list. There were a couple of spare seats near me, so the organiser put them there. As we started talking, it turned out that they were from Redcliffe … so I ended up with a lift not just to the bus stop or train station, but right to my friend’s door! That night I found myself thinking, “That was a kiss from Daddy!” Special, unnecessary, extravagant – it was a delightful expression of Abba’s love to me.
Next morning I realised that I had miscalculated when I drew spending money out of the bank. My pay would be in the account that morning, but there was no opportunity to draw any out before the day’s sessions began, which meant that I did not have enough cash to both buy lunch and pay my fare back to Sandgate station, where my friend had arranged to meet me. Oh well, I thought, it really wouldn’t hurt me to miss lunch for one day.
During the morning break I was talking to one of the ladies. After asking where I was from, she went on to ask how I had got to the venue. I explained that my friend had driven me there in the morning, but I was going to have to find my way back to Sandgate station for her to pick me up in the afternoon. No problem, said my new acquaintance, she could take me to Sandgate – in fact, she could take me even closer than that, if my friend could just meet us on the Brisbane side of the Redcliffe bridge. Another kiss from Daddy – and one that meant I would be able to buy lunch.
Daddy, however, had yet another kiss for me that day – at lunchtime the same lady came up, grabbed my hand and said, “Come on! I want to buy you lunch!” I was overwhelmed at God’s goodness to me.
About that time I started thinking that I really should begin to consciously look for Daddy kisses. I’m sure we all receive many of them, but often miss the fullness of the blessing because we don’t recognise them for what they are. Instead we put them down to just people’s kindness, or sometimes just to luck (the former is certainly part of the equation; the latter has absolutely nothing to do with it.) If we can see God’s hand behind the kind deed, the gentle word or the friendly smile – and behind the glorious sunset, the sweet birdsong or the magnificent rainbow – then I’m sure it will draw us even closer into that wonderful, intimate relationship with Him. Also, as we respond in thankfulness for Daddy’s kisses, our faith increases. Surely, if He does these small, unexpected, unimportant things for us, then He is also both willing and able to meet our big needs when they arise.
Last Friday I had another Daddy Kiss delivered through a person. I was doing a fundraising appeal day in one of our nearby small shopping plazas. It was a bitterly cold day (Victoria is still in winter) and my spot was right next to the front door, where icy breezes entered with every person who came into the centre. When I do appeal days like this, I deliberately don’t take much of my own money, and what I had with me didn’t add up to enough for a cup of coffee (I had taken a cut lunch.) Half way through the morning, one of the girls from the cake shop opposite where I was sitting came over and asked, “Would you like a cup of coffee?” Would I ever! She delivered a steaming brew – and a donut! – and late in the afternoon brought me another cup of coffee.
Some people picture God as tight fisted – willing to meet our needs (barely), but not willing to give us our “wants”, and definitely not to go anywhere beyond that. I want to challenge you to become deliberately aware of the extravagant kisses He showers upon you all the time – things He does not because you need them, or even want them, but simply as an expression of His love for you and His desire to draw you into intimacy with Him.