It was a hot summer’s evening in London , 1990. I was sixteen and on my way to a local church to attract the attention of the very handsome young drummer I’d noticed a few weeks ago. It was an appointment with my destiny.
And it truly was, except that I wasn’t going to meet that guy that night. I was going to meet God in an entirely new way. I was going to call him Father for the first time in the 7 years I’d been a Christian. I was confused; with an earthly father I’d barely met I didn’t connect to the idea of God as my Father.
Until at the end of the service, when, still preparing for that date with drummer destiny, someone stepped forward and shared a prophetic word:
“There’s a girl here tonight who doesn’t know God as her Father, and she has never known her earthly father. She’s feels like an orphan. God wants her to know He’s her Daddy.”
What do you do when God reads your life, your heart and longings in a single moment? Then says them through some complete stranger – aloud? When time stands still because your soul explodes in anguish and loss and there is no time to be self conscious or guarded, no time to filter or reason Him away? There is no split second; there is just all your life caught up in NOW. So all I could do was sob, all I could be was in pain.
What does God do when he’s brought the moment to its crisis? What did God do?
Well through the worship band leading that night, He sang over me.
Such love, pure as the whitest snow, Such Love, weeps for the shame I know Such love, paying the debt I owe, Oh Jesus , such love.
In all honesty I wasn’t always conscious of the debt I owed back then; but I was well aware of the sting of shame. It taunted me daily.
Such love, stilling my restlessness, Such love, filling my emptiness
Such love, showing me holiness O Jesus, such love
This time I wept louder. Uncomfortable onlookers might have thought it was an attention seeking teenager wanted to be noticed. And they were right. I’d wanted to be noticed by God, because I wondered if he knew the loss I felt. I’d wondered if that vacuous hole in my identity mattered, if the restlessness that instigated all kinds of unpredictable behavior in me mattered. Now I knew it did. So I wailed. The wailing continued until I became one of those people that kind leaders guide to quieter sections of the church building to give everyone else around them a break. A gentle couple talked with me, prayed with me, listened to me.
Later that night it was time for introductions
“Hi. Well, I’m Joannah, but everybody calls me Jo. I guess you’re my Daddy…” And so slowly began. I didn’t get the guy (Because, seriously, what guy in his right mind is going to find the weeping- wailing- screaming- not-that- appropriately-dressed- and taken- to- another- room- girl – attractive?). But I did get a Daddy.
Years later my heart leaped and the tears flowed again, when I stumbled on these verses from Zechariah. I’d not seen them before, but I’d lived them. And I smiled.
“The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.”