Whenever we travel to see friends in far off places and I spend time with God asking what he wants to do while we’re there, I know that my heart is being moulded to fit whatever is needed when we arrive. It is no accident, nor is it our own doing that we visit and therefore we look forward with confidence to seeing what Jesus will do for our friends. He is utterly kind and our hearts are often filled to overflowing as we watch while he moves one way and another bringing a measure of whatever is needed. He is wonderful, full of grace, sweetly revealing kindness and mercy. Oh how he loves his children!
The following is a journal entry from before our most recent trip, it’ll give you a peek at what goes on behind the scenes.
Preparing for an encounter session in Helsinki.
I love the sense of lift in my heart as I read scripture and listen to music and wonder about the truth God might want to convey to these dear ones. I know he has riches for them and want to make sure we find all of the treasure he has intended us to deliver to them. I can see each of them, quietly, gently, meeting with the One who loves them best of all. Meeting with the One who looks on them with kind eyes, who has pursued them through all the years of their lives. He’s the One whose heart is full to bursting with fondness for each precious one there. Whether there are two, or twenty, they are loved daughters and sons.
They are hungry to meet with him—but it’s all too easy to forget he is eager to meet with them too, not like a teacher searching a room for the presence of a particular pupil, ready to tick their name in a register, but as a delighted Papa feels his heart lurch as his son or daughter flings open the door of their home and calls ‘Dad! I’m here!’
What does he want them to discover or remember? Whatever it is, it will be satisfying, comforting, energising, bringing greater freedom and, as a friend of mine says, they will be free to be glad.
Each time we are together with this growing group of friends they become more dear to us. During a smaller gathering on one of our early visits I found myself thinking: ‘How can I live without these women in my life?’ I tell you now, it’s not easy, but I have had to learn how to content myself with being a long distance part of their church.
Living in Finland during winter brings its own challenges, one of the greatest, at least it would be to me, is the lack of bright daylight. If you’ve ever felt flat because of gloomy weather, then perhaps you can begin to imagine some of what those who live so far North must go through as they endure the long grey months.
Jonathan and Melissa Helser of A Place For The Heart have written a song called ’Sing Winter’, the lyrics are tenderly reflective and bear recalling to mind, especially if winter isn’t your favourite season. We played this song as part of an encounter session.
Click on the link to watch Jonathan and Melissa singing their song and to read the story of how the song came to birth.
During our time with them, eating delicious meals and talking way into the night, we sensed the pleasure of God as he met with his friends. To watch as he does what only he can do is awe-inspiring.
This father type of God—oh so kind, and loving and beautiful—enjoys drawing people out of themselves, helping them discover aspects of his nature that he has taken such delight in placing within them.
He wants them to hear what he has to say from the depths of his heart, his hopes and dreams—and he wants each and every one to experience a greater awareness of his love for them just as they are.
Our great privilege is that we get to be there witnessing him interacting with his children. My question is…’When can we do it again Papa?’