Four year old arms complete with traces of innocent chub at the wrists and elbows wrap about his neck. A small warm, snuggly body jumps up and down right there in his grip. Hundreds of kisses on his cheek surround the words dripping with excitement, “I want to go with you, Daddy!”
I want to go with you.
Daddy was getting ready to make a quick trip to the store and sharp little ears heard the laces being tied and the keys jingle. Little observant eyes saw the wallet slip in the pocket. A little loving heart wanted to be with her daddy.
I want to go with you.
And after the kisses and the enthusiastic jump in his arms, and after the declaration of “I want to go with you” comes the next sentence that plucked at my heart.
“Daddy, where are we going?”
It was the knowing that stirred something inside me… the knowing that no matter Daddy’s answer, this sweet little one wants to be with him so badly this morning that it doesn’t matter at all where he’s going. She’ll be right by his side. Inseparable, at least for today. She trusts her Daddy and knows that she’s always safe wherever they go… when they go together. And that made me feel spiritually awake. Convicted perhaps.
How I long to cry out to my Heavenly Abba, “I want to go with you, Daddy!” And I do cry that. Often. But am I as eager to really, truly follow Him wherever He leads as my little one was with her earthly Daddy? My heart’s desire is to always follow Christ with no trepidation. Ever.
But what about when God leads me places I don’t feel I’m qualified to follow? What about when He leads me to places that are painful? What about when He leads me places that are irritating and uncomfortable? Challenging? Places that leave me feeling spiritually weak and exhausted because they’ve taken all my strength just to hold onto Him? “Daddy, where. are we going?” The question takes on a complete different feel now.
But, I still want to go with you. I want to be where you are, Abba, and I don’t want to be anywhere you’re not.
So, how does one follow? We all have our own experiences in our walk with Him. I can guarantee I’ve followed Him through the painful, the irritatingly uncomfortable, the challenging, and the exhausting. (You could probably say the same.) Not perfectly or in any way to boast about, but I’ve followed. I’ve clung to His side, pursued Him hard, hidden under His wing, stumbled (even fallen) as I’ve followed, come skulking up with my head bowed in shame, and also just gone limp in His arms and allowed Him to carry me through. And each experience has taught me that Christ’s blood was shed so that I might have His forgiveness and grace. …That through Jesus’ sacrifice I am reconciled to my Father God and can come to Him (God in all three persons) to have my every need met and to strengthen me in all I do. It works in a circular fashion… The more I follow, the more I learn of Him. The more I learn of Him, the more I desire to follow.
Prayer. His word. Obedience.
All are ways to follow, and together make a combination necessary for the continual pursuit of Him.
We can’t follow anyone we don’t communicate with… How can anyone follow someone they ignore? Prayer time is crucial for followers of Christ. We need time to sit in His presence, pour out our hearts, cast our cares on him, and soak in His immense love for us. And Christians definitely need time to listen. Life is busy and pulls at us from every direction. All Believers need time spent in prayer, sitting quietly, seeking His face (Psa 27:8), and listening for His still small voice.
Likewise, we need to know who we’re following. This comes somewhat through prayer, but especially through both the reading and study of God’s Holy Word. It also comes through memorizing the same.
“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psa 119:11, ESV)
The more we read about God’s holy nature and our sinfulness, the more clearly we see the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross, and the more in love we fall with the God who loves us so incredibly much that He doesn’t want us to take punishment for all the sins we commit. He wants us to never (think eternally here!) be separated from Him.
And He not only wants us to be with Him, but He seeks our obedience to Him. Our obedience brings Him glory! (Matt 5:16, 1 Pet 2:12). What Father doesn’t seek the loving obedience of their treasured child? God desires to bless us and reward us for our obedient walk, just as we should desire to pursue him and follow His every leading.
I want to go with you, Daddy! Where are we going?
So… What things help you seek God’s face and aid you in your obedient walk of following hard after Him?