Updated: Jun 22
It was my first big paycheck and coincidentally received it on my Papa's birthday. Time to upgrade my gift giving. Socks and handkerchiefs, my go-to gift items, fit perfectly into my small budget, but this time I could actually splurge a little!
He loved aftershaves and colognes but standing in front of the huge array of men's colognes was overwhelming. How in the world will I pick the right one?
A salesman approached me and started pitching different colognes - the most expensive ones. I picked a bottle from the shelf, smelled it, and loved the scent! This is what Papa smells like - clean, confident, and charming. It was one of the expensive brands which just happened to be on sale and fit my budget perfectly.
Papa was surprised with my gift but when he tried on the cologne, he loved it! He liked it so much that when it ran out, he bought a bottle himself and continued to wear it every day.
I went out of the country for a business trip and passed by the duty free store hunting for Papa's cologne. The lady was pushing a brand that I was not familiar with but apparently very popular at the moment. I finally said the name of Papa's cologne and saw that she wasn't happy with my choice. I bought it anyway and was thrilled that it was on sale again. A striking deja vu!
Papa was delighted with my pasalubong (gift from travels) because his bottle had run out. I was just pleased that the cologne made him happy.
Consider for a moment
A good part of the world celebrated Father's Day last weekend. Fathers were honored for the role they played in our lives. Their sacrifices and hard work have provided for us and inspired us to do well in this world. Their love and attention gave us the confidence to face any situation.
There will be a considerable number of people though who will not be celebrating because of their unfortunate experiences with their fathers. I can only say that I am truly sorry for what you have gone through. No child should ever feel betrayed by, disappointed with, angry with, frustrated over or fearful of their fathers (or mothers). I pray that healing will come to the wounds that were inflicted on you who experienced this and that you will come out of it a new person.
There is a saying that goes, "Hurt people, hurt people." Could it be that the reason your father or mother failed you is that they were also hurt and never really recovered from it?
Perhaps they did not know any better.
We want a king!
While reflecting on God's love for us, I was reminded of 1 Samuel chapter 8. The Israelites did not like the possibility of Samuel's sons leading them when he passes away. His sons did not walk in the ways of the Lord.
They demanded that Samuel find them a king. It is mind-blowing when you think that the Israelites were set apart by God for Himself and yet they wanted to be like the other nations.
In the succeeding exchanges between God, Samuel, and the Israelites, we clearly see that God warned them of the hardships they will encounter under a king. The people on the other hand did not care but insisted on what they wanted.
God in His grace and mercy gives the Israelites what they want and in chapter 10, Samuel anoints Israel's first king.
Wait, what about God?
Samuel was displeased with Israel's demand but he obeyed God and anointed Saul as Israel's first king. The Israelites rejoiced because they now have a human king like the other nations. We don't read anything about how God felt in all these events though.
From the time God brought them out of Egypt, He made it very clear to them that He will take care of their every need. He provided food, water, shade from the burning sun, and light at night time. Israel won wars because God handed their enemies over to them. He gave them the best land to live in.
God was their King. He had always led Israel through prophets and judges who conveyed His instructions and messages to them. They were the only theocratic nation on the face of the earth and now they wanted a human being to lead them.
It must have hurt God deeply that the apple of his eye rejected Him as their King. In His great love for Israel however, He gave them what they clamored for but warned them of the consequences. He knew that their future kings would not only lay heavy burdens on them but most of them would lead them astray from Him.
What an amazing kind of love! Despite the rejection, God continued to love the Israelites. Throughout biblical history (and modern history), God never left Israel completely. They worshiped other gods and did all sorts of things that God hated. Whenever they called out to Him however He came to their aid.
God only wanted Israel to follow Him and be with Him always and yet they continually turned their backs on Him.
More than a bottle of cologne
A lot of the time our focus is on ourselves - our requests, needs, wants, feelings, dreams, pains, failures, victories, etc. We usually present all these before God when we come to Him. We ask a lot, but don't get me wrong because the Bible repeatedly tells us to cast all our cares on God.
How many times though have we come before God bringing a gift? I will never forget my Papa's look of happiness whenever I gave him the cologne he liked so much. He didn't say a lot, but his smile and the fact that he wore the cologne every day told me much.
Perhaps having a gift is not really the point.
Have we ever come to God and asked Him how He is? How about what we can do for Him at the moment? Have we tried to listen more than speak? Is resting before God something that we've done?
When God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to earth, it wasn't only so that we could be saved from eternal death which is the consequence of our sins. It was so that He could have fellowship with us again not just as God but also us our Father.
It starts here on earth and continues on when Jesus Christ returns as our King and Bridegroom to bring us to His Father - our Father - in heaven forever.
So, today, after all the celebration, go to a quiet place and spend time with your heavenly Father. Sit before Him and ask Him how he is. Listen for He will speak. Don't be surprised when He gives you rest. He's been longing for this moment.
By the way, spend some time with your earthly father, too. Ask him how he is doing. That question may be the start of a meaningful conversation and become a memory to cherish.