"This is my Father's world."
Our pianist and organist began our "countdown" with this hymn on Sunday morning. Many of you know this very encouraging and uplifting hymn. This week its meaning became much more personal to me. As I continued my sermon series, "Journey in Prayer," I challenged our folks to "Pray like Jesus!" I featured Jesus' Model Prayer from Matthew 6 and Luke 11. It begins "Our Father in heaven." I'm sure your also familiar with this prayer.
In my Monday morning prayer time, "This is my Father's world" popped into my head and I looked out the window to the trees and sky and thought, "Wow, this is my Father's world!" I have talked before about my earthly Dad. But I'm on a much higher plane here. Now I'm speaking about my "Heavenly Father," God!
Because that is true, I'm going to say something that I don't ever remember actually putting into words -- especially in writing. As I look back, I believe that my Heavenly Father has had His hand on my life since I was very young.
When I consider all the mistakes of the past, all the poor decisions, the foolish actions, and yes, the sin -- I am a sinner, you know -- I simply must acknowledge the mercy the sovereign God has given to bring me through all those situations!
And then, I look how He has demonstrated His love by giving me Christian parents, calling me to serve Him at the time of my father's death, giving me a wife who loves Jesus and me, blessing us with such wonderful children and grandchildren, calling me to pastor a loving church, and much more. I then must give Him all praise for being a Sovereign God who is full of grace -- giving more than I could ever deserve!
I'm praying that you are asking right now: "How can you claim that the Sovereign God is your Father?" OK, I'll tell you: It has nothing to do with Jack Hall! It's all God's doing. He sent His Son to die on a cross for my sin, then He raised Him from the dead to give me abundant life! (John 3:16 & John 10:10).
When I confessed Jesus as the Lord of my life, I was "reborn" into the family of God and the Father became my Heavenly Father. This is not exclusive to me! It is an offer God makes to every person on earth who confesses belief in Jesus as God's Son and makes Him Lord believing that He died and rose! (Rom. 10:9).
But I want to speak directly to the church -- those who have already received Him as Lord. Please, Church, let's wake up and realize "This is our Father's world." Let's not fear anymore. By faith and through prayerful witness, let's be conquerors in Jesus' name. This world does not belong to political leaders, to atheists who take over universities, to "religious leaders," or the devil himself -- though he still tries to claim it.
"Jesus told them, 'If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but He sent me.'" (John 8:42).
Christian, this world, not just the earth, but the entire universe, belongs to our Father. He created it. Our sin has it messed up for a while. But it still belongs to our Father. In the Model Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray: "Your kingdom come. Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven." (Matt. 6:10). And He has already promised that one day that will happen!
So, let's keep singing: "This is my Father's world, O let me ne'er forget, That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet. This is my Father's world, The battle is not done; Jesus who died shall be satisfied, And earth and heav'n be one." (Maltie D. Babcock)
• Jack Hall is pastor of First Baptist Church in Shawneetown.