Imagine with me, for a few lines, that a young, Californian surfing enthusiast hears rave reviews about Makka Beach in Jamaica being the best water to surf in, ever, hands down. He’s an inexperienced traveler, but on a whim he buys plane tickets with high hopes for the time of his life. He clicks the online tab to rent a car with his airfare before leaving home. Ditto, a hotel room. Great, so far! On arrival, he collects the keys to the car and heads out to the lot, installing his luggage and his precious surfboard. He jumps in, and to his surprise, the steering wheel is on the other side, where the passenger side is supposed to be. Disoriented, he gets out, walks around, and settles in behind the wrong side driver’s seat. Slowly moving to the exit of the parking garage, he sees the traffic staying to the left on the roadway! His senses are now on full alert, as all that was familiar, all he has ever seen or studied, has been erased, and all that up-til-now was foreign is now his to maneuver. The first traffic circle (moving clockwise!) momentarily paralyzes him. The first vehicle passing him on his right makes him jump and do a double take…

All right. Strange scenario. But I see parallels to our introduction to God’s Kingdom. Like our imaginary friend, we begin our in-Christ journey to the Father’s heart largely unaware of how radically different is this new ‘terrain,’ this divine government which has now declared us citizens; how phrases like, ‘Every man for himself,’ ‘Look out for #1,’ It’s a dog eat dog world,’ ‘Welcome to the rat race,’ ‘Watch your back!’ now are found ill-fitting, foreign, N/A; how the pressing-in new reality is that we are purely loved, perfectly known,  permanently at home. And like our west coast dude, much of this newness is encountered as a surprise. That all provision for all we need is all in place, that striving to arrive, to impress, to endear ourselves to God, is pointless, unnecessary. That, like our Prayer Journey is regularly reminding us, God’s loving gaze is forever upon us. We are welcome, safe, adopted. The closer we get to the Father’s heart, the more we realize the truth in the words of a Southern Gospel song by Bill Gaither: “The One who knows me best, loves me most.” How much love do you take in from the Father? What is your awareness level of his love for you? What surprise encounter with that love could be waiting around the corner just for you? How might such an encounter change your life? Until tomorrow, 10 AM. EDT, 3 PM FR.   PD

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