Blog Written by Patty Spykstra
I arrived on Day 3 of a lecture series entitled “The Father’s Heart.” Tim was asked to share on this topic for a group of students at a Youth With A Mission or YWAM Discipleship Training. The class ranged from adults aged 18-32 from France, Germany, The Netherlands, Rwanda, South Africa, Switzerland, and the USA. One student had a cold, another just had his tooth knocked out colliding with a surf board, one student was in a wheel chair, one was a dad, another understood English but had difficulty speaking it, one was sitting on the floor. Yes, it was a beautiful and diverse gathering, and the common link among all was a heart for Jesus and His Word.
Knowing God as Father is a subject that has been near and dear to Tim’s heart, in fact it is the foundation of Oceans Ministries, so I was excited to attend and share a bit as well. I tried to sneak in the back of the room, but Tim had already told too many stories. I greeted the students with a fist pump or a hug as I noticed the picture, a very special one, where Jesus is holding a young boy in a football uniform. Yes, this picture was the tangible reminder that Jesus was there with Tim during some tough days as boy and now there it was propped up in the front of the room.
Tim shared his story of the times he felt alone and how he wondered where God was when experiencing hurt and uncertainty, in his teaching he intertwined scripture as a reminder of the importance of hiding God’s Word in our hearts. As he spoke many nodded their heads in agreement and others had tears in their eyes. The teachings were powerful and held steps to healing. Some students needed to realize their earthly fathers or mothers were incapable of giving them what they needed, others recognized the need to forgive a parent or authority figure in their life, or perhaps even themselves.
As I sat in the back row, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and found myself praying for the students and leaders. At the break my eyes connected with a young lady who was looking my way I smiled and she walked over. She asked for prayer. As we talked she shared how her dad had passed away when she was 18, he was a pastor. Her mom never really recovered from his death. Throughout the week others publicly or privately shared deep heartaches that left huge holes. Some really tough stuff that made my heart heavy just hearing about it. Such moments reminded me of the times I had asked for prayer as a young pastor’s wife and realized the need for bitter roots and fear to be removed. Tim continued his story with the group of how Lynn Brookside, a lady in our very first church, had walked him through forgiveness of family, himself and even God.
Over the next several days the students wrote various letters. Some offered to read aloud the words they had written. I was nervous, as I wasn’t sure I would want to do so. Some shared how burdens were removed, others laughed and smiled as they felt their Abba Father’s love, others broke down and cried uncontrollably, and others couldn’t believe the peace that overcame them. The letters were absolutely beautiful and powerful and freeing and healing!
Tears quietly flowed down my face as these students claimed their rightful position of Sons and Daughters of the King! Oh if we could truly see the heart of the Father!
“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery that returns you to fear, but you received the Spirit of Sonship, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15 Berean Study Bible
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36 BSBK