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My Father’s World

Categories: Devotional Thoughts

daily reading plan

April 2, 2020 by Steven Lulich

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”  Matthew 6:26.

The daffodils we planted in the Fall have come up, the dogwoods and magnolias are in bloom, and the birds are chirping up a storm.  Springtime is on its way!  As I sat at my kitchen table the other day listening to the birds outside, the hymn “This is my Father’s world” came to mind, especially these two stanzas:

This is my Father’s world –
The birds their carols raise;
The morning light, the lily white,
Declare their Maker’s praise.
 
This is my Father’s world –
O let me ne’er forget
That tho the wrong seems oft so strong
God is the Ruler yet.

In this time of great uncertainty, social isolation, and sacrifice, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic might be considered “the wrong” – and it does indeed feel strong. In the midst of it all, I find it incredibly encouraging to remember that “God is the ruler yet”. This is His world, His creation, a realm under His ultimate dominion. And He is “my Father”, who loves me and values me even above the birds of the air and the lilies of the field.

Sometimes it is hard to own these truths – to see and feel the love and care that God has for us. I think one reason for such difficulty is that our focus so easily centers on the here and now – our earthly bodies, our earthly predicaments, our earthly worries and anxieties. Was my loved one exposed to the disease? Am I experiencing early symptoms? Will I see my friends again? How will I pay this month’s rent? These are real and legitimate concerns. Of course, we know that our lives upon the earth are brief, and that “man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7), but where can we find comfort in the midst of these troubles? Jesus’ answer echoes Job’s, and turns our gaze heavenward. “Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause” (Job 5:7-8). “Your heavenly Father knows that you need [food, drink, and clothing]. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:32-33).

Jesus teaches us that our life is more than food, and our body is more than clothing (Matt. 6:25). We are more than just earthly people suffering under the threat and reality of an earthly disease. But Jesus does more than simply teach us to retrain our focus on God. He acknowledges our earthliness – so deeply, in fact, that He entered into it. He understands. He knows what it is to be hungry, cold, and worried. He is not “unable to sympathize with our weaknesses … since He Himself [was] beset with weakness” (Hebrews 4:15, 5:2). No, He did not remove life’s troubles from us, He did something greater: He opened the Way through them.

The Apostle Paul understood this. Paul faced tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, the sword; yet he could pen these words: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us,” for “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:31-39).

As the sunshine beams brighter and warmer, as nature is renewed this Spring, and as a terrible pandemic continues to rage around the world, let us take comfort and nourishment in the fact that God loves us so much that He gave His only Son for us. We are of more value to Him than the birds and flowers. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matt. 6:34).

This is my Father’s world –
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is king, let the heavens ring!
God reigns, let the earth be glad!