When my dad was a young pastor, he had a few standing rules, but the most important one to me was that if his wife or sons called, we were immediately put through to him. The church secretary knew that no matter what he was doing or whom he was with, he always wanted to take the call. I’m sure the policy was designed especially for my mother, so she could be certain that whatever family emergency her elementary school-age boys caused, she could get her husband. But it applied to all of us.
Probably the only rebuke our church secretary ever received (she was a gem) was after I called one time, and she tried to screen if the probably 12-year-old son of the pastor really needed to talk to his dad or not, and she didn’t put me through. From then on, no matter why I called, she just put me through to my dad. She didn’t even ask why I was calling; she just got my dad on the phone.
Having been a pastor myself, I realize it might not have been a wise policy. I’m sure we interrupted my dad’s study, counseling, and other important pastoral tasks. It’s funny how that affected me. No matter where I was, if I could find a phone, I could get my dad. In an age before cell phones or even the internet, knowing I could grab that harvest gold phone off the wall, dial the church office, and immediately talk to my Dad made me feel special, privileged—membership in my dad’s family had its privileges. I could always get through.
But as comforting as that was, I have a greater Father who has the same policy. When God the Father saved me, he adopted me. I am a member of his family. I’m not a stranger; I’m not an outsider.
he [God] predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…. Ephesians 1:5 (ESV) Cf. Rom 8:14-17; Gal 4:6
Membership has its privileges. The only prayer of the unbeliever that God has obligated himself to hear is the prayer of repentance. But for the believer, God always hears our prayers.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:12 (ESV)
I might have milked the privilege being Harley Keck’s son afforded me and made phone calls that were unnecessary, but my dad still took my calls. And our heavenly Father encourages us to come boldly before him.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 (ESV)
I am adopted into God’s family. This means I can always get through. How amazing that the God who spoke the universe into existence always, always hears my prayer. And I don’t have to find a harvest-gold phone to talk to him. 😉 Right now, you and I can talk to him. We are so privileged.