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Duh Nuh Duh Nuh Dun Nuh…DUN DUN DUN DUN! Your heart leaps and races to the increasing tempo as it reaches a dramatic climax. Caller ID confirms your rising fear: the shark is coming. He wants something from you. After all, sharks don’t come out to play but to feast.

Your mind teeters: should you answer or ignore it.  Like anything the phone can be blessing or a curse. It allows us to connect with people who bring joy and meaning into our lives. Yet, uncertainty lingers at the other end that can bring sadness, disappointment and anxiety.

Do you wonder if our Father in heaven feels the same way about us when we call on Him? Does His heart race with excitement at the prospect of sitting down with His beloved child for some quality time? Then settle into disappointment because we were only interested in climbing on to His lap like a child at Christmas with our wish list?

Imagine yourself as a child: Your dad just got home from work. You run up and greet him like a dog meeting his master. Excited to see one another, you jump into his arms. He holds you high in the air. Your eyes meet his. They sparkle with delight as you lovingly gaze at one another.

You watch your daddy settle into his favorite cozy chair with his newspaper in hand. He is ready to relax after a hard day but he catches a glimpse of you and eagerly motions for you to sit on his lap. With a joyful smile he says, “Tell me all about your day at school kiddo. I want to hear all about it.”

Without hesitation, you enthusiastically oblige. Filled with anticipation, he is all ears as you recount your day. Slowly your countenance changes as you recall a rather unpleasant incident. You stop mid-sentence not wanting to go on as your head droops in shame. But with genuine concern, daddy says, “What happened, my sweet child? Please tell me. I want to share in every part of your life: your joy and pain.  Don’t shut me out.”

You sheepishly look up and begin telling your story. “Mom made me a tuna sandwich for lunch. I love tuna. But my friends made fun of me and called me tuna breath.”

With a sullen look on your face, you turn toward your daddy with a tear forming and ask, “Why did they call me that?”

Your daddy lovingly and gently responds as he brushes your hair from your face: “Because dear child, they do not know who they are. Most of them run to their daddy only when they need something.  But you are different. You spend time with me: talking and listening. The more time we spend together, the more you come to know and understand my love. Fear does not rule your life because there is no fear in perfect love: only comfort, peace and joy. You were created in my image, to reflect a life of love, power and authority.  In this world you’ll have trouble. But cheer up! I have overcome the world.”

67 - Jerry Young with Daughters, Shelley & Paige at home on Kadena AB, Okinawa; Feb 1973You may have a dad who graduated to heaven. But your heavenly Father will never leave you nor forsake you. He longs to spend time with you and free you from circumstances and people who try to define you. Choose to be free this New Year. Spend time with your Father.