Over winter my boyfriend Arnie and I went to visit his family in Melbourne.
We waited in the chilly Melbourne Airport pick-up zone, for Arnie’s Dad to pick us up.
Recognising his Dad’s car a while off, we waved eagerly knowing the cold air would soon be behind us. With a kiss on each cheek Arnie’s Dad, Daniel, popped our luggage in the boot and we hopped in the toasty car.
We had just pulled out from the kerb when Daniel jumped into story time. Classic.
“You know, I’ve been waiting for Arnie since he was a boy.” Daniel chuckles to himself.
Arnie goes quiet. Probably in anticipation of what embarrassing tale his Dad may pull out this time.
“Yes, I waited for him all the time… For him to finish his cricket game, to finish at the movies, to finish his day at school. I would wait for him in the school car park and read my newspaper…”
Then he went off on a tangent.
“You know one day I was picking Arnie up from primary school. I was walking towards him. ‘Arnie, Arnie!’ I called”
Daniel said as he demonstrated an exaggerated attention grabbing wave whilst driving.
“Arnie was trying to look behind me, because he didn’t recognise me, I had shaved my beard!” Daniel cracked up in laughter.
I had heard that story before. Classic.
“But yes, I waited on him all the time”
He looked at Arnie with a cheeky smile.
“My boy”, he said tenderly. Then looking at me, “And now he’s 29 and I’m still waiting for him!” chuckling again, he jokingly pushed Arnie’s arm enough to make Arnie (quite the solid guy) move in his seat.
I laughed at the banter but I didn’t expect to be feeling the way I was during the story.
Tears welled up as Daniel spoke.
In my head I had linked Daniels fatherly waiting, and ‘that kind’ of patient love to my own Dad, and to my heavenly Father.
‘That kind’ of love is the kind that hits home.
Home – where Arnie’s Dad was taking us and where our Heavenly Father will take us too.
Our Heavenly Father is always waiting for us to finish what we are doing and come home to Him in prayer each day, and at the end of our earthly lives.
Going off on my own tangent now.
Sometimes God is waiting to pick us up, and we don’t recognise him.
Like Arnie not recognising his Dad with a shaved face.
Daniel’s face looked different, but that didn’t change who he was.
Like with God, the way God reveals Himself to us may change (e.g. beard) but that doesn’t change who God is. God is always steadfast.
Even when we are in a place of not being able to see our Heavenly Father (who is sometimes right in front of our eyes) we are challenged to trust. To trust He is there, even when we don’t recognise His presence. This is faith. Similar to the faith you have as a child, when your parents say they will pick you up from school, and so they do.
He is calling out your name. Patiently waiting to pick you up and ask you about your day.
God often surprises, but never disappoints.
He may not be sporting a beard next time you see him, but it’s still our same God and he’s happy to be picking you up.
+ Jesus, we pray that we would be open to new ways in which we may encounter you.
That we would take time out from our day to accept your invitation to ‘come home’ in prayer.
By Pia Irwin