I’ve been missing my father this week. His birthday was February 18th; Dad would have been 80 this year.
People used to say that we favored each other. They said I had my dad’s smile (which made me happy), as well as his nose (which made me less so)…
Three years ago, I wrote a post about some of the good gifts Dad gave me (the best being an introduction to Jesus), and I shared a bit about his cancer journey. And this year, as I reflect on his legacy, I’ve been thinking of how many things—physical attributes, as well as interests and skills—fathers pass down to their kids.
A classical pianist may teach his children to love Mozart and Bach. A businessman may want to raise up a successor. An athletic dad may urge his kids to play sports.
(Or try to, anyway. If you’ve been around this blog for awhile, you know that Dad’s passion for tennis didn’t exactly translate into a skill-set for me.)
For better or for worse, children are image bearers–a connection that reflects our relationship to our Heavenly Father, I think. Remember what God said, back when He was creating the world? “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.”
That’s Genesis 1:26. And it comes right before God outlines our destiny. In a nutshell, our original job description was to reproduce, fill the earth, and basically take responsibility to love and care for God’s entire creation.
Sounds like a tall order, right? (Especially after that whoopsie, early on, in the Garden.)
It is a big job. And it would literally be mission impossible, except for two things.
The first is the power of redemption. What sin destroyed, God’s grace restored. Thanks to the cross, we are back in the destiny saddle.
And the second is the power of prayer. To quote Andrew Murray (my current “dead author” obsession), prayer is “the power through which blessing can come to others.”
Put another way, prayer is the conduit through which God’s provision can flow.
It is the number one way we can love and care for our world.
It is–and buckle up, Murray fans, cuz this is one of his best–“proof of man’s godlikeness, the vehicle of his communication with the Father, and the power that is allowed to hold the Hand that holds the destinies of the universe.”
(It’s okay. I’ll wait while you read that one again. I had to.)
Because here’s the thing: God could have chosen to work around us, or even in spite of us, but he didn’t. He chose to work in us, and through us, to bless other people. God chose us–us!–to be the channel through which His power is unleashed in our world!
All I can think, as I consider our status as “image bearers,” is that it’s because of how much He loves us. Not because we are clever or well-behaved or (thank goodness!) athletic. Our Heavenly Father loves us–and listens to us–just because we are His.
So let’s just go ahead and take hold of His Hand. Let’s come before our Father today–the Daddy whose image we bear–and look into his face.
And if we aren’t sure what to ask for, or even how to get started, that’s okay. We can do like the disciples did, back when they beheld Jesus, and say, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
Thank you that You’ve called us your children, and that we’re being transformed into Your image. May we gradually become brighter and more beautiful as You enter our lives and we become like Jesus. (2 Corinthians 3:18 MSG)
And when people who know You look at us, may they think to themselves, “She has His smile.”