Enjoying Our Presence (#588)

All the little girl wanted was for a dad who would enjoy her presence. But he was too busy managing their lives to notice that his daughter was drowning in the need for a father's love. Enjoying our presence, is the perfect way to talk about how God loves us and how he wants to connect with us. Even in the most difficult of circumstances enjoying his presence soothes our pain-filled questions and offers us a pathway to growing faith in him and his work in us. It disarms our angry "Why?" questions and as he lets us know we are not alone in anything. This trust is hard to embrace when we so easily misunderstand his character and how he manages the universe in trying to get our needs met in the only way we think would befit his love.

Podcast Notes:
NPR's This American Life: Fermi's Pardox contains the story of the little girl with questions and her dad. Find it at 43:28.
Previous Podcast: The Prayer Dance
Wayne's Upcoming Trip to South Africa
You can find our latest update on our work in Kenya here.
Add your voice to our question/comment line via Skype at "TheGodJourney"

15 Comments

  1. Oh you gotta love this, that little girl and her question quest to get her father’s interest in her blew me away. More tissue useage and a moment to go to full stop on all engines and just ponder this from Father’s perspective and how he wants to relate to us. Just there, in that, there is a feast of wonder, enjoyment and a calming.
    Oh what a journey this is, although the path is heavy at times and the storms are blowing, a knowing that even though there is that storm blowing and the trees are looking as though they’re about to unroot. A turning aside from the “what’s before us.” a small turn to the side, seeing Him smiling, looking ahead and simply enjoying us as this adventure unfolds can calm the innermost person to a peacefulness. Well it did me.. 😀

    Great to hear the enjoyable batter between you two, has me chuckling and at very least and so often brings me a smile or six.. 😉

  2. Nicolai, just click on The Prayer Dance title in the podcast notes above, and it will take right to the podcast page. Hope that helps!

    • Hi Ron, thanks for your help. As I understood from last pod cast about the nine year old girl, Wayne got this story from a pod cast he listnened to. If anyone knows the link to this specific pod cast I love to hear from you! Best,
      Nicolai

  3. Hi Pastor Brad and Pastor Wayne…

    Ok, hahahahaha

    Hi Brad and Wayne,

    Loved this episode. A couple thoughts:

    Re: “Oh you of little faith” — like you said, there are a few different time Jesus said this and so context matters. However, it doesn’t seem in character for Him to be condescending or mean-spirited; belittling. This YouTube link is of the Matthew Video, where Peter walks on the water with Jesus. It is my favorite part BECAUSE of the WAY Jesus says “Oh you of little faith! Why did you doubt?” THIS is how I picture him says my this to me — both acknowledging the smallness of my current faith, yet loving me hilariously and championing my attempts to exercise my faith; laughing alongside me as I stumble forward in growth.

    https://youtu.be/_z_Yvm4CL-U

    Also re: the little girl who asked her dad questions. It struck me that so many of us, me included sometimes, live in that story — but sort of turned around.

    Like, we ask God questions like that, and then when HE wants to enjoy our presence and wants us to enjoy His, instead WE are the ones who avoid spending that time being with and listening for Him. And instead we spend endless hours believing all we need is the “essay He already wrote for us”, like the Pharisees when Jesus said “You search the Scriputures because you think that in them it will find eternal life…”

    Thanks for another encouraging conversation and letting us all be flies on your wall. 😉

  4. Dear Wayne and Brad,
    My heart went out to Brad as I heard him relate how he felt God had given him the name of his soon-to-be-born child, only for that pregnancy to end in a miscarriage. It must have seemed like God had a special calling on this child, in which case we would naturally get our hopes up, and then for it to all come to a very premature end, –what’s all that about? I have a similar story in which my hopes were very raised, everything crashed and burned, but the good part of the story is that God was so present with me in such a real way, it increased the level of trust and intimacy between Father and me that I’m not sure would have happened otherwise, not that I would choose to go through it again! We had adopted a little boy, 11 months old. He was 3 months premature, addicted to crack, had had a double brain hemorrhage in utero, and had survived at least one abortion attempt by his mother (a prostitute). Not only did God heal Anthony of every condition he had been born with after we adopted him, but as he grew up, he had a closer relationship with God, a love for God, and an awe of God that I had never even seen in an adult. He wrote many incredibly mature poems that were so full of his love for God and his desire for people to know God’s love for them, even at age 8 and 9! I just KNEW God had a real calling on his life! Every night Anthony and I would pray for his two older half-brothers in the foster system, that God would draw them to Himself, and I believed that the three brothers would one day have a street ministry to at-risk kids. Then one day, when Anthony was 12, I walked into his room to give him some very exciting news, and found him hanging from his loft bed with a belt around his neck. I cannot describe the feeling a mother feels at such a sight except that it felt like I had just been hit by a truck! I wasn’t sure how long he’d been hanging so I cut him down and started CPR and mouth-to-mouth while my daughters called 911. After 20 minutes of CPR to no avail, I knew he was gone. As I was working on him, the first question that came to my mind was, “Father, why did you spare him as a baby just to take him as a child?! I thought you had such great plans for him!” It was so contrary to what I had believed God had been showing me about Anthony’s future, that God had such a great plan for him! Of course, I did not receive an answer right then and there as I knelt next to him. I can say this however, that God was sooo with me during that darkest time of my life. Father drew me to Himself in such a new way, one in which I had not known before. I felt so close to Him, I couldn’t even be mad at Him. I knew it was not a case of suicide because Anthony was just never like that, but a few weeks before had mentioned to me that he wanted to experiment with different methods of hanging to see if one could still breath, which I admonished him never to do, especially alone. Apparently, he tried it anyway and passed out and then was unable to control his experiment. Mercifully, I did not have to deal with all the additional issues and questions that come with a suicide, but the sudden, unexpected loss of my son really rocked my faith! Why would God do this, or allow this, or even let us adopt him when He knew Anthony would die at age 12? Where was the angel that was supposed to be protecting God’s children? And why did God spare his life from so many dangers as a baby, just to let him die at his own hands in his own bedroom as an adolescent? What sense does all this make? I still don’t have all the answers to these questions, but I CAN say this, that Father was with me more tangibly during that time than any other time in my life and drew me closer to Him than I could have ever imagined. I felt His arms almost tangibly holding me up during the funeral when I thought I was going to collapse. I felt loved and sustained by a Father’s love and comfort that I had never known before. One amazing thing I should mention is that less than a year before this incident, God had prepared me for it, unbeknownst to me, by leading me to read The Shack, which had been sitting on my shelf for a few years. I never wanted to read it because I knew it was about the loss of a child, a parent’s least favorite thing to read about. But I know now that God — so rich is He in mercy!– had me read that book to prepare me for this darkest time in my life. Clearly, God does not prevent or even fix every tragedy in our lives, but I can truly say that He walks through the storm with us, holding our head above the water so we don’t sink in the waves of grief and despair, and He does bring us through to the other side, stronger than we were before the storm, if we let Him. (I recently wrote a poem called “Prayer in the Storm” which conveys this picture of Father’s love for us and faithfulness to us in our storms, which hopefully has encouraged some others with whom I have shared my experience.) I have learned a deeper trust in Father’s love for me and have seen His faithfulness in a way that I would have never known. Even though it’s been six years now, I somehow believe that Father is not finished with Anthony’s story and influence, and that He is going to bring more good out of this tragic event that Satan tried to bring me down with. What the enemy means for our harm, God promises to use for our good, but I think we have to have the courage to trust His undying love for us for that to happen. And it’s so much easier for us to trust a Father who we know loves us so deeply! The Shack helped me to see that important truth! Thanks so much, Wayne and Brad, for that! (By the way, Awesome movie too!!!)
    With great appreciation, Tammy

  5. Tammy, thank you for your note. I’m so sorry for all that you’ve been through, but so appreciate the heart of faith rising out of the midst of such tragedy. Even if God knew Anthony only has 12 years, he wanted to those years to be with you. The love you poured into him is what God wanted and his life has GREAT meaning just for that. Whatever else God does beyond that with this tragedy is simply more of his goodness. Blessings to you and your whole family….

  6. When Jesus calls out his followers with, “Oh, you of little faith,” we see it as a negative, a criticism, a scolding, but maybe it was more of a reminder than a rebuke.

    After all, He said we only need faith the size of a mustard seed to throw a mountain into the sea (Matthew 17:20). A mustard seed is slightly larger than a grain of sand. That’s tiny! Could He be telling us we don’t need as much as we think, we just need to exercise what we already have and watch it produce? After all He does the work, the miracle, the impossible. We just do the believing.

    • That’s a great connection you made Diane…one I didn’t certainly think of. Thanks for the insight!!

  7. Hey Brad and Wayne,

    Great podcast, have been listening to your series for at least four or five months and I can’t thank you enough for sharing your experiences with the living God and opening my eyes to his mysterious yet deeply loving character which can so often be obscured by religious thinking and human interpretation of scripture! I have been an agnostic/atheist up until last year when I actually had more of an encounter with the enemy, leading me to believe that there must be a God and so have for the last year and a half tried to have a relationship with Him and it’s been really tough to work out firstly a deep faith that what I am experiencing/thinking/feeling about God isn’t just in my head, an encounter with the holy spirit after the enemy attacked and obsured all of what I thought was my inner feeling of God! And reading testimony really deepened that faith! I feel like I’m so blessed to have a local church, St.Stephans in London, England, that is very open and a great community spirit where most of the sermons are actually given by members of the congregation so I don’t agree entirely on your stance that church is not helpful, at least for a young Christian like me it’s vital! I am an inquisitive person so once I established my faith that God is real and almighty, I have been searching for the answers to so many questions like suffering, the devil, how we are to live and your podcast has pointed me in the right direction and been a great source of comfort. I hadn’t felt God’s presence of a while after going off the rails a bit with lust etc and then after hearing Brad’s experience of feeling God weeping with him it just cleared up that question of whether God allows all suffering and I just asked God to allow me to enjoy and be enjoyed by Him and I just slowly felt this sense of peace and a kind of divine hug that quietened my intrusive thoughts and this peace is kind of staying with me! And I think I heard his voice for the first time, or a Godly thought when I was craving a hit on my vapouriser and I just heard, “why do you need that?”. I’m looking forward to working out the truth with God or instead letting go of the need for all the answers and deepening my relationship with God. I think letting go of the desire to seek God to prove you are a good person or to have a better is something that I needed to do and instead be enthralled by the idea that the Most High God of the universe actually wants to know ME lol and be in a loving relationship with me, awesome!! So grateful for your honesty and your heart for God and helping people through this journey, which can be frought with worry, resentment, fear and shame! God Bless guys!! 🙂

    Best,
    Jonny H

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