Kids teach you things about God.
We've been in the States, visiting churches and preparing to go back to France. The bonus is that we've seen our kids and grandchildren more often. When you're not around little ones for a while you forget things. For instance, babysitting one three-year old is equal to 25 hours of work breaking rocks with a sledgehammer. A five-year old can tempt a clinical psychiatrist to jump off a bridge. And three kids under the age of seven in the same room have the same effect on the orderliness of that room as a hand-grenade explosion.
I've also discovered that grandmas are much more patient than grandpas and that her grandkids can get away with things that her kids never dreamed of.
Little ones teach you other things too. Our daughter's three-year old can be the sweetest guy in the world but when he's pouty, just set out flares and tip-toe around him. The other day he was in a sweet mood and I took him in my arms, squeezed him to me and said, 'You're papa's sweet boy.”
His response? His chubby arms tightened around my neck and he said, 'You're my sweet boy too, papa.” Whoa!
I thought about what little Micah said to me as we were singing a song in church Sunday. The words contain this line,
'”¦be blessed by our praise as we glory in your embrace, as your presence now fills this place.” ('O, the Glory of Your Presence” words and music by Stephen Fry, 1983 Birdwind music/Cherry Lane music).
'As we glory in your embrace.” I wanted to say to my heavenly Father, 'You're my sweet boy, papa.” I wanted to give Him as much joy as my grandson had given me a few days before. It was as if the Lord spoke His love back to me at the same moment.
I've been struck recently by what a joyless world we live in and how much effort we expend seeking joy. Joy is a fruit of being full of God's Spirit but often we let difficulties and boredom rob us of our God-given heritage.
Have you looked for books on practical ways to experience God's joy recently? Bible bookstore shelves are lined with works telling you how to tough your way through trials and how to be better than you are. You can buy a truckload of ideas on how to lead successfully or how to shine in your daily life.
I did find one. Strange name though. 'Psalms”? Still there was some good stuff about joy there. Listen,
'Let all who run to you for protection always sing joyful songs. Provide shelter for those who truly love you and let them rejoice.” (Psalms 5:11, Contemporary English Version).
We work hard, by His strength, to live a life that pleases the Lord. We stay up late and get up early to grab success by the ears. But isn't experiencing his joy, his presence, and his love in our lives just as important?
Could it be that one moment in his presence, sunning ourselves in his love, could be as beneficial to us as all these other efforts? Can we possibly believe that God loves his people as much as he says he does?
'The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing.”(Zephaniah 3:17, Amplified)
Lord Jesus, you're my sweet boy too!
Think about it”"
'The limit of your leadership is who you are in the presence of God.” Erwin McMann