January hit the 9-year mark for me here at IHOPKC. As I was reflecting back on the years, the generosity and kindness of the Father snuck up on me. I felt His pursuit of my heart over the years. I felt His consistent, steady reaching for my heart— that most days was so subtle it came nearly unnoticed. But that Tuesday morning in the 6am prayer meeting, I felt it.
I remembered how I came to IHOP terrified yet hungry to know more of God. Committing to what I felt was so HUGE in the moment, that 6-month internship. I wanted to know Him more so I gave that weak “yes” and offered those 6 months and He gave me 9 years—and counting!
How much more does He give those who ask? How much more will He give if we keep on asking, seeking, and knocking? He is a good Father who delights to give.
God is our Father—a generous Father who finds joy in giving. It’s who He is, it’s what He does—He gives. And the best that He gives is Himself. God gives God. There are no limits. There is no end. He gives.
And He loves us deeply. He cannot stay at a distance. Our Father will go to any lengths to tell us of His deep desire for us. He will not stop pursuing our hearts.
As I was thinking about the incredible reach of the Father, I was reminded of a story that is such a great picture of His pursuit of our hearts. (And in the telling I get to brag on my own Dad too; it’s a win, win!!)
It was nearly 9pm, a normal evening. When I heard a knock on my front door. I was not expecting anyone and when I opened the door, my Dad standing there.
“Dad! What are you doing here?!” was the question that exploded from my mouth. He was not greeted with a hello or a hug—shock had consumed me—this unexpected visit from my farming-father who lived over 1000 miles away brought instant questions and even some fears into my mind.
Suddenly I was thinking something terribly wrong had happened for him to come now—to come unexpected. I anticipated the worst. He just stood there and said, “Can I come in?” His simple question brought me out of shock and back into reality.
He came in. Sat down. Not in a hurry, without concern on his face. “Dad! Why are you here? How did you get here? I asked again, waiting for the bad news to come at any moment. Sitting calmly on the couch he said, “I rented a car at the airport and drove here.” ( Gotta love that practical answer)
“But WHY?” I couldn’t understand.
Then he spoke revealing the love and endless pursuit of our Father:
He said, “I came because I had something to tell you. I was in the barn last night feeding the cows and I was praying for you. I felt the overwhelming love of the Father for you and I had to tell you. It was so strong that I knew I couldn’t email what I felt. After I thought about it I knew a letter was not enough either. Even a phone call would not explain what I was feeling. I had to come. I had to come and tell you that your Father in heaven loves you and will go to any lengths to pursue you. As your earthly father I love you but this love is just a meager representation of your Father’s love. I traveled this small distance as a representation of how He will go the great distance to tell you of His love. Nothing is too much for Him; nothing is too costly for Him. He will do whatever it takes to pursue and win your heart.”
I was in even greater shock now! I know my Dad. I know his life. He is a farmer, a pastor, a busy man. It is incredibly hard for him to leave home. I knew that traveling was a real sacrifice. He really did go to great lengths to come here and I knew it.
His words impacted me but I was still waiting for the “and”—the real reason he came. I was waiting for the words that would follow the paragraph he had just spoken that would make sense of it all. But nothing followed.
“How long are you staying?” I questioned. “My flight leaves in the morning.” Another wave of shock hit me. In the morning!? This is when it became real to me; he added nothing else to the trip to make it worthwhile. He had no other agenda or purpose for coming. There really was no. other. reason. He really did travel across the country just to tell me of the Fathers deep love and great pursuit.
And then twelve short hours after he had arrived he was gone.
But his words—they lingered.
This is what our Father is like, He pursues. And this is what I felt that Tuesday morning in the Prayer Room. I felt Him reaching for my heart through the years.
Our God is a Father who wants us to be with Him. He will come to us for no other reason, with no other agenda but to give us Himself!
This is truth: God is our Father. And He is a good Father. He simply cannot stay away. He will go to any lengths to tell us of His deep desire for us. And He will never stop pursuing our hearts.