Thursday, September 30, 2010

Our Father's Favorite Portrait

In his book “The Great House of God” Max Lucado takes us on a tour of God’s house based on the Lord’s Prayer. Each line of the prayer is assigned a room and the first room he takes us to is the living room, the place to go when your heart needs a father.

As women, we do not need much encouragement to imagine what this living room looks like, though surely it is different for each of us. Some imagine a masculine room with leather chairs while others think of a rustic lodge with the smell of pine in the air while for yet another it is frilly and girly. One item is common, no matter what décor you see. There is a portrait that hangs above the fireplace. This portrait is one of a father, son and the love of his life. We can only see the back of the lady as the son has her hand pressed to his lips, his eyes dancing with delight as he looks upon her. Actually this portrait captures the last scene of what has been a fantastic party. Yes, this was the party of a lifetime. Mere hours before this moment was captured, this party was beginning and the excitement was building to nearly a frenzy. A very important man, a king, had arrived with his son to choose a bride, a lady worthy to be called a princess. As the party begins there are many people in attendance. Each one is wearing their finest clothes and giving the best of what they own as gifts to please this father, this king. Desperate to be the chosen one, each dances so that their feet seem to float instead of touching the ground. Each one sings songs of adoration, louder than the next one. Everyone, however, is oblivious to the look in the father’s eyes as he and his son sit quietly, unmoved by the spectacle before them. There is one who is in attendance who is not singing or dancing and without her knowing it, the king spots her. Though she is not dancing her feet cannot remain still. She stays on the outskirts of the crowd. As the other guests dance and the crowd shifts, she catches a glimpse of the prince. Each time this happens and she sees him her breathing stops. Never has there been a more beautiful man, which only serves to make her more painfully aware of her ragged appearance. She has no fine clothing to wear and instead of rings on her fingers, she has torn nails and calluses from years of hard work. She feels out of place and is turning to leave the party when the unthinkable happens. As the crowd shifts again she catches sight of him and looks directly into his eyes. She feels as if she will faint. The king rises to his feet and commands the music to stop as she tries to get her feet to move to run away. The silence is deafening and the only sound she hears is that of her heart pounding wildly. Before she has time to realize what is happening, the father bids her to come. Her feet betray her and instead of running away, they take her closer to him, the prince. As the crowd parts she can hear the condemning whispers and comments from them. Still, she is powerless to stop. After what feels like an eternity she finds herself standing in front of the king and his son. The prince rises to his feet as his father announces to the crowd “This is the one for my son.” The prince reaches down, and as he presses his lips to her hand, he whispers, “Daddy, she’s beautiful.”

Do you recognize the lady in this portrait? You should, beloved, because she is you. Your Father loves and treasures you so much that He has hung a reminder of you in a place He where can admire the moment you came to His Son. He hung this portrait in a comfortable place that speaks of family and familiarity, a room that He readily invites you to join Him where He can love you as only He can. This room is always open to you, no matter the time of day, season of life or emotional state you find yourself in. He loves you so much that He is willing to be your Father on a moments notice. His arms are always open wide to and He longs to let you know how precious you are to Him. After all, you are the subject of His favorite portrait!

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