" hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved."  Romans 8:21-24 It is the inner gnawing that will not go away.  The unmet desire that we cannot requite.   Something is not right.  Something is missing.  There is unrest in the kingdom of my heart.  My very spirit groans in the anticipation of absolute, utter, and complete healing....the reconciliation and restoration of all things at the end of the age.  And that is some of what the gospel offers, but there is more.  There is not only the promise of tomorrow, but the hope of today as well.

My enemy has convinced me that there is nothing this side of heaven that can ease my weary soul.  I get to go there and it will be really awesome, but for now I need to do my best not to suck too much and just stumble through this treacherous existence.  What kind of story is that?  Who would read that sort of tale and who in the world would have any interested in wanting to follow me into it?

My precious ones, like me, stumble and fall every day.  We want what we want when we want it, and frankly, anyone or anything in the way really pisses us off.  From the first man to me, it is our desire for control and the exertion of our will that has separated us from our God.  Our heart groans from anticipation of His kingdom come, but also from the loneliness and distance we feel from the one who heals and saves...right here and right now.

So at night, we do a daily reset with our babies.  We wipe the chalkboard and bang the erasers until all the dust is gone.  We praise and thank.  We confess and repent.  Then we remind...maybe more important than anything...we remind.

You have been loved (Malachi 1:2)

You are loved (Ephesians 2:4-5)

You will always be loved (Romans 8:38-39)

The Father said I have loved you.  Because of His great love for us, He gives us Jesus.  And "I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  May my precious ones not close their eyes on another day without the reminder and comfort of those promises.

A couple of weeks ago, my 21-year old called to have a serious discussion about the next chapter in his life journey.  It was deeply bathed in prayer, counseled by several, and full of clarity he heard from his true Father.  Even still, it took tremendous courage to lay out all his hope and desire in front of the one who has not always handled his heart so well.  I asked all the questions a father needs to ask and told him I had a real peace in my heart about what he was suggesting...I wanted us to continue to pray about it.  But before we ended the call, I need him to know...

You have been loved

You are loved

You will always be loved

His emotions poured over him like a wave...he desperately needed to hear that as well.  Nothing will ever separate him from the love of his father.  More importantly, nothing can ever separate him from the love of his true Father.  May every man not close his eyes on another day without the knowledge of that.

May we all be ambassadors of not only the "later on", but the "here and now".  May we live in the transparency that not only comfortably groans, but rejoices openly in the restoration and love of our father.  May we live in the sort of tale that others not only want to read, but join us in as well.