Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Give Of Your Best To The Master"1 (Lyrics)
2 Chronicles 7:14 – If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (NIV)
Many years ago when we had three young children, our family went to Storybook Gardens in London, Ontario, Canada. It was a lot of fun — until my five-year-old son, Jonathan, disappeared. He had been firmly told to stay close by us, but he forgot and wandered away, lured by the exciting attractions. As he meandered through Storybook Gardens, he came to the old woman who lived in a shoe who had so many children she didn't know what to do. He knew that he wasn't one of her children and didn't belong in that story! So he walked on. He saw old MacDonald's farm with the sheep, cows, and chickens. He knew that he wasn't an animal and didn't belong there! So he walked further. He passed the homes of the Three Little Pigs. He knew he didn't belong in that story either!
Meanwhile, I was getting worried. Then, I heard an announcement over the loud speaker: "Would the mother of Jonathan Eaton please come to the front office." What a relief! I was glad that he remembered who he was — and also who he was not. Thankfully, he got to the place where someone could help him find us. He knew that he would be welcomed back into his family even though he had strayed. We happily received him back, forgiven and loved as ever.
In a sense, we are all meandering through a giant Storybook Garden. Stories are being enacted around us all the time. Many stories arise from fear, anger, guilt, retaliation, and emptiness. They are stories of material accumulation and self-seeking ambition. Those kinds of stories are not meant to be ours. They are not the ones God calls people to live. Yet, they can easily lure us. God wants us to belong in His family, and take His story as our story — the kingdom of God. We must fervently seek to know this story. Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of God" (Matthew 6:33a NKJV). If we know who we are and where we belong, we will also know where we do not belong.
When we lose sight of who we are in God's kingdom, we are prone to settle ourselves in the wrong stories. The good news is that there is always a way back. When we realize that we have become caught up in stories which are not meant to be ours, we can always turn our hearts toward home and once again seek our heavenly Father. He has promised to "hear from heaven" and receive us back — forgiven and loved as ever. That's God's story!
Prayer: Lord, open our eyes to see where we may have become caught up in the wrong stories. We trust You to receive us back to Yourself — where we belong, in Your grand story of redemption and hope. Amen.