|"Over all," we'd call it a successful "snuggle" of "Papa" and granddaughter Eleanor (photo by Eleanor's mother)|
When our new out-of-town granddaughter arrived for her first visit to Papa and Nana’s home, she wore—as promised—her little girl “overalls.” And Papa was prepared with his, which he wears when he gets into really grubby work. We hadn’t seen her since she was three weeks old (and now she was four months), so that “reunion photo” was a special occasion!
Babies are such snugglers. My grandsons, now 2 and 3 ½, “cuddle” with “Nana” from time to time, wrapped in a favorite blanket for songs and small talk. And every time that happens, a little part of my heart goes back to memories of me, at 31, “snuggling” with my Heavenly Father. My parents had died just months apart, and this grieving “orphan” had to empty their home and settle their affairs. In that house of hard memories, I’d often curl up in my dad’s old rocker, Bible open as God wrapped me with His comfort and wisdom.
Coincidentally (which is how God arranges things!) I’d recently felt a nudge to re-read a book that’s among my personal treasures, Amazed by Grace, by Lucinda Secrest McDowell. We met at
about 1980, and in subsequent years I watched her grow into an
internationally-known author and speaker. In this, one of her earlier books,
she shared teaching about “sonship” that she received from missionary speakers.
Instead of sons and daughters of God, the missionaries said, we live defeated
lives—like orphans--when we act as though believing these: Wheaton
*I am all alone and therefore it is all up to me.
*I am full of felt needs but want help from no one.
*I live on a success/fail basis.
*I am full of fears and have little faith.
*I am defensive and a poor listener.
*I have a complaining and thankless attitude toward God and others.
*I feel trapped by circumstances and that no one cares.
In contrast, McDowell related, living in freedom as a son or daughter of God is marked by displaying these characteristics:
*I have a growing assurance of God as my Father because of a true understanding of the cross.
*I am building a life partnership with God based on the gospel and not self-effort.
*I’m more forgiving, less judgmental and condemning.
*I rely on the Holy Spirit to help me use my tongue for praise and not complaint or gossip.
*By faith I see God’s sovereign plan over my life as wise and good.
*I learn to pray, claiming the promises of God.
*I seek daily forgiveness and cleansing from my sins.*Such are the insights that can only come from those deep “snuggle times” with God: Bible open, heart listening. He also has a way of reinforcing His truths through people who care about us and are praying for us.
Do you know a spiritual orphan? That status has nothing to do with whether parents are still living. It has everything to do with our willingness to be embraced by our Heavenly Father, and to do what He asks us to do to grow spiritually. Baby overalls are cute, but they’re not to fit us all our lives. Heaven’s closets have “robes of righteousness” waiting!
*Quoted by Lucinda Secrest McDowell in Amazed by Grace (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1996, pp. 55-56. McDowell cited her notes from “Sonship Week” Bible Course, Jack and Rose Marie Miller, lecturers. Used by permission of the author.