Although I hate ironing, I went on a wild ironing spree this past Sunday afternoon.
It all happened because we had an intense weekend of running errands and hosting. The next thing I knew, ironing suddenly seemed like it could be a moderately relaxing activity. So as my wife and youngest daughter cuddled in the bed, I ironed in the same room.
I stood there, squirting water and flattening out pants while listening to my wife and little girl talk. But then eventually, my little girl’s eyes began blinking heavily and she drifted off into a deep sleep.
My wife got up quietly to go downstairs; I kept ironing; and then I realized I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. So much of my time with my youngest daughter is spent talking and moving and doing and explaining. This was my chance to simply be with her. It didn’t matter that she was asleep. We were together, and I was loving her as I looked at her from across the room.
It wasn’t the first time I’ve watched her or her sister in their sleep. I’ve gone into their room at night and looked at them, thanked God for them, and prayed for them plenty of times before. I don’t do that because I’m trying to be a good father – I do it because I want to, because I love them, because they are beautiful to me. They’re doing nothing but breathing, but it’s enough to be there and look at them.
Yet when I think about my eternal Father, I don’t always see Him as being that loving. Sometimes I feel like He’s only interested in me when I’m obeying or serving or doing something spiritual (whatever that means). But then I remembered His love as I stood there ironing and watching my daughter as she laid there, alive and at peace.
In that moment, I remembered that God is not our employer or our heavenly school master. He is our Dad, and He loves us simply because we exist and we are His – even when we’re asleep. This is the same Father about whom Scripture tells us, “The LORD himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade” (Psalm 121:5, NLT). This is the one who “will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17, ESV). This is the “LORD [who] keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever” (Psalm 121:8, NLT).
God is a Father of infinite love, and therefore, it is His pleasure to give it away to all of the children for whom He paid the ultimate price. As Jesus said, “[I]f you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him?” (Matthew 7:11, NLT). I didn’t even ask Him for it – I was just ironing, and He gave me the gift of remembering how good He is.