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Contents Preface Section 1: “Oh, and before I Go . . .” Refer Directly to Maker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 I’m Here, God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Heavenly Glue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 God Our Strength . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Wide, Long, High, and Deep . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Break Out the Smarties! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Whose Side Is God On? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 The Offer of Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Back to Eden? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Our Father . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Too Busy? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Beware, Bloodsuckers! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

Section 2: Where the Heart Lies Come On In! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Gracious Living . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 “The One You Love Is Sick” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Painful Silence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Let Us Also Go . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Let People Be Real . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Let It All Out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Jesus Wept . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 “Take Away the Stone!” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 Please Take Charge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Use God’s Gift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 The Moment Is All . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Courage to Be Weak . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83


Section 3: Yes to Adventure Yes to Adventure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 Help Us Rejoice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Not Junk Mail . . . but Reality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 Avoid Spillage! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 Never the Same Again . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 No Fairy-Tale Ending . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107

Section 4: Some Famous Last Words Lean Back and Relax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113 Walk in the Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 Check Your Yeast! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120 Forget Your Toothbrush? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123 Real Quality Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127 Open the Packet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131 A Promise of Welcome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134

Section 5: “God So Loved the World . . .” The Choice Is Ours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139 Wanted: One Donkey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141 Help Us to Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145 Injustice Covered Up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148 Just Being There . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151 Share the Burden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154 A Way to Help . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158 When Hope Is Gone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160 Alive for Ever and Ever! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163


1 “Oh, and before I Go . . .” You know how just before you go away you keep thinking of urgent messages that you want to leave behind? “Oh, and don’t forget . . . ” you keep saying to the people who will be staying at home or at work. You keep repeating this because your mind is so distracted and because every time you think of something it feels so vitally important that you just have to say it again. Well, this is how it seems that Jesus felt during the period before he allowed himself to be taken to his death. But his urgent messages were not about groceries or the dry cleaners. They were all about God. “Did I tell you he’s your Father? . . . Oh, and don’t forget: he wants you to call him ‘Father.’. . . You must remember he loves you like a father loves his child. . . . He loves you like I do. . . . When you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father. . . . Oh, and don’t forget. . . .” Do you know that John records the word father thirty-nine times in chapters 14 through 17 of his account of the last weeks of Jesus’ life? Because of Jesus’ sense of urgency during this emotionally charged period, I thought we would begin these reflections by concentrating on a few of the startling facts about God our Father that his children have discovered throughout the Bible.

[]


Refer Directly to Maker You created every part of me; You put me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because you are to be feared; all you do is strange and wonderful. I know it with all my heart. When my bones were being formed, carefully put together in my mother’s womb, when I was growing there in secret, you knew that I was there— you saw me before I was born.

Psalm 139:13–16

H

ave you ever had the opportunity to see a photo of an ultrasound scan showing the human fetus at an early stage? I think it’s one of the most marvelous things I have ever seen—a tiny knobbly lump holding all the intricate patterns of God’s little masterpiece. Biology textbooks now all contain pictures of the developing embryo. My favorite is a photograph taken at eighteen weeks showing a minuscule thumb being sucked. Have you seen it? It is quite beautiful and seems full of mysteries. What color are those eyes, hooded at present by a delicate pink film? Is it a boy or a girl? Will it have big feet like Grandma, or Great Uncle’s nose? Having four children whose personalities are all quite individual, I’m particularly intrigued by another unknown quality. What personality will it have? Will she be a Martha or a Mary? Will he have a volcanic temper? What will make her laugh? How will he handle grief? What will be her thorn in the flesh? What will be his particular talent? God []


Knowing God

as

Father

knows—literally! He knows every single thing about this being-to-be and, we are told, loves this child even more than any mother could. I can’t begin to explain why, even at this stage, some of these tiny miracles carry future pain within them, some physical or mental disablement that will make their lives so much more difficult than it is for most of us. The only thing I can confidently pass on is something that a friend told me. Her name is Hilary McDowell, and she was born with a generous personality as well as multiple injuries to her minuscule body. With the determination, love, and faith of her family she was able to develop the first and overcome the second enough to lead a full life. Hilary and I met at Carberry House, a Christian conference and holiday center in Scotland. In between her evening of performance poetry, her dance workshops for teenagers, and her counseling sessions as deaconess, we found lots of time to chat. She told me how sometimes it is very, very hard for her to get up in the morning. Looking forward to a day of painful physical struggle takes a daily dose of courage that occasionally deserts her at seven o’clock in the morning. On those occasions, she says she needs to look at the little poem she has stuck above the mirror in her bedroom. It is the shortest poem she has written and is included in her fascinating first book, Some Day I’m Going to Fly. The poem reads: Any complaints about this model refer directly to maker! That’s it. A tiny statement containing the essence of the mystery of why we are as we are, as simple yet intricate as the embryo. So many of us just don’t like ourselves. We look in the mirror and we don’t like what we see or what we know is inside. It is hampering our happiness, ruining our relationship with God, and turning up like the proverbial bad penny to prevent us from marching forward. So tell God about it. Tell him how you can’t cope today, how fed up and unhappy you are. Take your complaints to him. He made you and he []


“Oh, and be fore I Go . . .”

alone will be able to answer your questions. And, let’s face it, he has loved you longest!

Prayer

Dear Father, Here I am, your child, your grown-up baby. Sometimes I don’t like myself very much; sometimes I can’t cope. Sometimes I want to give up. Sometimes getting up in the morning and facing the day is almost too hard to do. Sometimes I hate you for not sorting it out, for allowing the things that have made me who I am. Love me through it all, my dear Father, and help me to see myself as you see me.    Amen.

[]


$11.95

“To recapture the belief that we are the apple of God’s eye; to gaze with wonder into the divine heart, overflowing with love for each of us; to embrace God as ‘Abba’ and rejoice as our God does in who we are—that is what it means to read this book.”

A

writer and a mother of four, Bridget Plass warmly explores her relationship with God in Knowing God as Father. Weaving stories from Scripture with tales of everyday family life, Plass reveals the universal love of God for all creation. She shows how raising children, restoring relationships, and building a Christian home can all become exercises that teach us the true nature of God, whom Jesus called “Father.” Plass sorts through the “messiness” of life—bellyaches and scraped knees, divorce, death, and family crises—finding strength, comfort, and meaning in her relationship with God. With stories of tragedy and triumph, Knowing God as Father invites you to recognize God’s loving-kindness and compassionate care for you,

Cover illustration by Mary Cassatt, The Child’s Bath (detail), 1893, oil on canvas, 39 1/2 x 26 in., Robert A. Waller Fund, 1910.2, “©2000 The Art Institute of Chicago. All Rights Reserved.” Cover design by Karen Kohn

ISBN 0-8294-1608-0

K n o w i n g G o d a s Fat h e r

—Mary Morrell, author, Angels in High-Top Sneakers

Plass

Spirituality/Prayer

god father A Woman Learns to Trust in God’s Care

bridget plass


Knowing God as Father: A Woman Learns to Trust in God's Care  

Knowing God as Father by Bridget Plass is one woman's story about developing a relationship with God. Weaving stories from Scripture with ta...

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