This week, my dad is visiting my brother and me, and I was a little concerned that it would take a while for my daughters to get comfortable with him – I mean, they very rarely get to see him, so he’s not familiar to them. However, the minute my dad walked into the room, my most bashful daughter went straight to him, and they started playing together.
Dad’s not in the best physical shape these days, but that didn’t stop him from letting five of his six grandkids pile on top of him and wrestle with him. I told them to be careful, but he kept provoking them to play, so I just let it go and figured he would let them know when he’d had enough.
We’re four days into the visit and he still hasn’t had enough.
What really impresses me is how involved Dad gets in my daughters’ make-believe world. For example, this morning, they were using the syringe from their doctor set to give him a shot in his neck, and every time, he winced in pain and hollered like it was killing him. Every time, they laughed and laughed like it was the first time he had done it.
And then they were doing this toddler Olympic thing where they jumped off the ottoman to see how far they could go. He was doing sports commentary and saying “Wow!” with each jump, like it was the first time they had ever done it.
It reminds me so much of our Heavenly Father. He’s been around for eternity – literally – so it’s not like we’re doing anything that ought to be particulary new or exciting to Him. You’d think it would feel like watching the same old thing, over and over again – but it’s His love for us that makes it new.
Father God gets into our world and allows Himself to fully engage with the things that matter to us. He laughs with us, cries with us, sings with us, and in the ultimate act of getting into the muck of our earthly life, He came all the way down here and died for us.
Watching my dad engage with my daughters gives me the courage to tell God a joke, to sing Him a song, to show Him how much weight I can bench press. When I do, I can look up into His wild eyes and say, “Did you see that Daddy? Did you see it?”
And in response, I will hear, “Yes! I take delight in you with gladness . . . I rejoice over you with joyful songs!” (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT).
In the face of that kind of mutual adoration between Father and child, love never gets old.
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