Today in the UK it is Fathers’ Day. Mothers’ Day saw our first online church meetings (22nd March), and here we are, 14 weeks later, still meeting online. Fathers’ Day is the celebration of our earthly fathers, an ‘exclusive day for Dads’, but this is not always easy to celebrate, particularly if distances are involved or relationships with fathers are tense or if our father has died. But the good news is that today – and every day – is also Father’s Day – a day when we can celebrate our heavenly Father, an inclusive event for all of us, no matter who we are or where we are.
Stephen spoke this morning from Ps 23, one of the best-loved psalms in the Bible. There, God is described as a shepherd, who leads us and guides us and provides for us. He is the One who makes us lie down in green pastures, letting us rest, giving us His peace. He leads us beside still waters, calming us when we feel overwhelmed by live, enabling us to know both rest and peace. He refreshes our soul, giving us ‘zing’ for life rather like the sweet ‘Refreshers’ used to do!
God’s refreshment brings us completeness, wholeness and restoration. He leads us on right paths as our mentor and guide (rather like our SatNav for life!) We can walk in His paths for His name’s sake, and even though we may go through very difficult times (described as the ‘darkest valley’), He is always with us. We may think of the baby bird looking out from the nest and feeling afraid at being so high up; learning to fly must seem a very daunting task at first! But ultimately, reassured by its parents, it learns to fly, and we too can know the comfort and help of God in every situation.
God is with us no matter what our situations. Even when we are with enemies, God’s love is there to help us through. Our cup overflows, demonstrating the abundance of life found in God. We can be sure that this relationship lasts forever, not just for one day a year, and therefore we can be encouraged.