Matthew: ten times

Matthew 6:1-18

listeners-learn-of-the-higher-lawAt first glance, that mountainside sermon is exactly what so many expect of God. A list of do’s and do not’s. But I’ve sat here listening on repeat for days, hearing the same phrase over and over.

your Father. Ten times in eighteen verses He uses these words (once He says our Father, but still). Ten times He looks at me and says your Father.

It is said that when scripture repeats something three times, it is emphasizing the importance of something…a place, a person, a theme. It is basically saying, pay attention, this is crucial.

Ten times in eighteen verses Jesus affirms my identity as a daughter of heaven. 

I’ve been sitting on this one thing and counting the repeats and feeling the weight of pay attention, this is crucial.

I have called Him Father for years. But Father is just one of many identities I have called Him, depending on my circumstance. For instance, if you were to intrude on my most personal moments with Him lately, you would hear me crying out to my Healer. Not all that long ago He was my Deliverer. On a regular basis He is my Provider. The list goes on and the list is not wrong it’s just that He doesn’t want to be on a list.

Knowing God by a list of the things He can do for me is not the relationship He fought to the death to have with me.

The list separates what God does from the reason He does them.

[ Simplistic example:  When my kids got hungry, they didn’t call out for the food provider. When they got hurt they didn’t run to the owie healer. It was always Mom. I fed them, helped their hurts, and gave them what they needed because I was their mom, and they knew that, at least on some level.]

molassesAnd finally, something in me settles as revelation seeps in like molasses.

What He does cannot be separated from the reason He does them because the reason He does them is who He is.

your Father.

God is not insisting that I know and believe and declare that He is my Healer.

your Father.

Or that I have memorized and can recite and are standing on all of the verses that prove He is my Healer.

your Father.

Or that I make sure to let Him know that my hope is not in doctors, lest He think I am trusting in some other healer besides Him.

your Father.

or any of the other things that we do and have others do in our attempt to get Him to do what we need Him to do.

your Father.

Molasses is slow, but eventually it gets where it’s going.

His Father-heart is not in question. Jesus, with His ten times in eighteen verses, has made it a much more personal question.

Do I have the heart of a daughter?

orphan_beggingtap-dancingOr is it still the heart of an orphan? A beggar. A tap dancer performer scripture-reciter trying to get the attention of the Healer Provider Deliverer?

Is my heart still so starved that it clamors for what He does more than for who He is?

And this one. So hard to answer. This is the pay attention. This is the crucial. I know this is why Jesus looked at me when He said it ten times.

Will I trust my Father even if Healer is nowhere to be found?

But still, revelation molasses just keeps seeping in until it finds the place it has been after from the beginning of the ten times in eighteen verses.

Is your Father enough?

And I remember that time He asked if His love was enough. It wasn’t a theological debate question, it was simple. Yes, or no. Designed not to be cruel or accusatory, but to force my heart into a life changing decision. And it was. It was life changing to choose to let His love be enough for me. It stopped my fighting and scratching for any other love. It brought rest to my soul. His love became the prize, not the consolation.

close up of a beautiful young woman looking upwardsSo in the dark hours of the night, my heart again made a choice.

You are my Father and I am Your daughter.

Yes, it is enough. 

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