One of the most rewarding things in my life right now is being a grandparent. It’s so
much better than being a parent. All the perks with less of the hassle.
But I’ve been decidedly intentional about being active in their lives. It’s not just
snuggling and playing, it’s also about trust, stability, and imparting wisdom. I do things
with my grandkids that build trust between us and show them how to do things so that
throughout their life, it will be instilled in them that Papa is someone they can always call
upon, someone they can always trust.
So, one of the most precious moments I had with my grandson was sitting beside him
one day when he was just an infant, reading while he entertained himself. I could see he
was becoming increasingly agitated, trying to retrieve a toy from under the rug that he
had just placed there, which was one of his favorite games. But I waited for him, not to
rush to his aid too soon, he usually could retrieve it himself. But after a few more
minutes, clearly exasperate, I heard him quietly say… “Papa”!
Initially, I could hardly believe it. He really hadn’t said but only two other words
previously, mama and dada, so I wasn’t sure he really said it. But within seconds, he
said it again and this time looked at me for help. It might not seem like a lot, but far
more touching than just him having Papa as his third word, was the thought that in the
mind of that little boy, frustrated and seeking help, he knew crying out for Papa would
call his Papa to his side. It’s a lesson I hope he will always keep in mind.
We have a heavenly “Papa,” who is close by. The Bible says that He is “nigh,” to those
who call upon Him in truth. And surely, He is ready to come to our side when we need
The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
Psalm 148:18 KJV
If anyone understood needing to feel close to God, it was David. Lonely, on the run,
hiding, betrayed… he felt the full gamut of emotions. It is hard to be isolated and alone,
particularly with people around. And as much as we try to remember, even when we are
surrounded by people, they aren’t the solution to the big problems we face in life. In fact,
they usually make things worse.
But knowing that the one who can help, who has the ability to solve our issues, and who
also comforts us through the seasons that we must endure is “nigh,” just a “call” away,
ought to be of great comfort.
But David also reminds the reader in the second part of the verse, that perhaps, if God
seems to not be near to us, who doesn’t seem to respond when we call on Him,
perhaps it is because we haven’t drawn nigh to Him in faith.
David says that God will draw nigh to all who call upon Him “in truth.” That word “truth”
carries the idea of calling upon God in faith, in faithfulness, in surety of our standing with
Him. To those who are not in a faithful standing with God in salvation, God is not
obligated to draw nigh. God wants to, but should we expect God to draw nigh to people
who choose to reject Him day after day, who would call on Him to come to their rescue,
only to return to reject Him again when the crisis is over? Clearly, they want a “good luck
charm”, and not the companionship of a Savior. Those who call upon Him in true faith
can fully expect God to come to their side, to answer in the timing that is His best for us,
and to comfort us until it comes to fruition. Our Father stands ready to draw nigh… He is
just waiting for those words, Papa, help!
Dr. Ronald J. Barnes, Jr.
June 28, 2023