April 15, 2008
by Shawn McEvoy, Crosswalk.com Faith Editor
Come before Him with joyful songs.
My mother called me last week to share a memory she'd just had from her childhood. Fortunately, this time, it wasn't the same old "I-stood-up-in-the-bathtub-when-I-was-six-and-my-mom-packed-my-suitcase-and-put-me-on-the-front-stoop-and-that's-how-I-came-to-have-a-problem-with-rejection-from-which-I-only-recently-got-delivered" story that my sister and I have internalized as if it were our own.
There was no trauma associated with this memory, though it wasn't a nostalgic recollection, either. She didn't even know why it had come to the surface... yet.
My mom grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut, where her father was a dentist. His offices were attached to their house, where my mother was the oldest of five children. "He never told us we couldn't interrupt him at work," Mom said. "So I remember one day I needed new shoes. I knocked on the door to his offices to see if I could have some money. What I'm remembering now is just the horrible look he had on his face this one time. He was so annoyed I was there, and just gave me this 'get the heck out of here!' sneer. I can't even remember if he gave me the money or not, and this wasn't some horrible life-altering memory, and it wasn't always like that.
"So I'm wondering why I'm remembering it now. I think the Lord just reminded me of this one instance because I've just been reading Psalm 100 about coming into the Father's presence. And you know what? He's never like my dad was that day! He requests that we come before Him, and not just that we come, but that we come with joy and singing! Can you imagine?"
It's true. And you know what? If you had a good father, like my grandfather was, this story works. Perhaps he made time for you even when he was busy, or you can see that even when he had a bad day that it only meant he was human, unlike God. If you had a bad father, this story works because it shows the contrast of what an all-the-time loving Father really is.
My own father, even before he was saved, told us all one day that he had given instructions to those at his office that whenever his wife or children called, for whatever reason, regardless of what he was doing, the call was to be put through, or, if we were visiting in person, we were to be escorted in. We were bowled over. I can't tell you what a difference that made for all of us. It was such a little thing, but it meant so much. And he lived up to it. He was a very busy guy, but true to his word, no matter when I would call, and no matter why, he was always the same - happy to pick up the phone, eager to listen. Sure, if he was really busy he'd let us know, but not so we ever felt unimportant or shooed away.
I think that's what the psalmist is telling us here. God has set up those rules for His children. We're always playing just behind the door where He's working, and He delights in the sounds and songs He hears. We can knock on His door to just tell Him we love Him, show Him something we made for Him, ask Him if there are any chores that need to be done, tell Him if there's something we need, thank Him for something he did, praise Him for being awesome and amazing beyond compare.
Go ahead. There's awesome power and majesty behind the door, but scripture tells us we can go there! Try it, knock. Sing. The door's always open.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Establish an "open-door policy" with everyone who is important to you, because that's what the Lord has established for you.