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The Father relationship

Robin Raymond and his daughter Lilly

At 9:30 pm at the end of the five most physically and emotionally exhausting days of my life I sat at my desk at work staring at a bag of clothes and broke down crying.

The week had started with a routine phone call to our midwife, ‘Come on down and we’ll do a quick test, just in case. Nothing to worry about; shouldn’t be more than an hour.’ One hour turned into one night, turned into four more days, turned into a baby more than a month premature.

One of the most powerful images to me in the Bible comes at the start of the first book of Samuel as Hannah, longing for a child, sits in the house of God so overcome with pain and crying the priest thinks she is drunk. Like others, we’d sat in Hannah’s place and, like her, after a long, painful journey our prayers were answered. And so it seemed only right to include ‘Faith’ in our baby’s name.

But then there were all the practical things. Not just the medical worries of a prem baby too small to leave hospital, or trying to work out the basics of looking after our child. We weren’t even prepared for the simplest things—we had one item of clothing for a premature baby and even that was too large.

I was already deeply grateful for the message from work that they’d got us a couple of things as a present. By the time I made it to my desk, on my way for my first proper sleep in two days, there was a large bag stuffed with clothes. It was the first of many gifts from many countries as we rediscovered the deep kindness of so many people. It also made real Jesus’ comforting words in Matthew 6:28–30 about not worrying because God would clothe us.

My first article for War Cry was for Father’s Day 2014. I reflected on the ways I have grown to resemble my father and the desire to resemble my Heavenly Father. These days, my thoughts are more on how my own child might reflect me (shudder).

I have so much excitement for the things I want to teach my daughter, people I want to introduce her to, places I want to take her, stories to enjoy together, and values I want to impart. And I have all the fears of any parent: if we send her to the wrong school will she end up a P-dealing junkie? How scarring will it be if that loved musical toy vanishes?

Most of all, I want her to know and enjoy a relationship with God, a Heavenly Father who offers life in all its fullness, opportunity, hope and love. A Father who

by Robin Raymond(c) 'War Cry' magazine, 26 August July 2017, pp3
You can read 'War Cry' at your nearest Salvation Army church or centre, or subscribe through Salvationist Resources.