Fathers and Sons

I'm in the midst of RD Exit Week and a two-week seminary summer class.  RD Exit Week is a week of debriefing the year, sharing what we've learned, talking strategically about how to apply what we've learned for next year, finishing up administrative tasks, and (a first for this year) sitting in on a biblical counseling class called Biblical Conflict Resolution.  All of it has been very relational, profitable, and spiritual.  The two-week-long night class is called The Pastor's Home, which has been challenging and needed, as well.

If I had the time and the energy and the ability, I could literally journal a hundred single-spaced pages with everything that's going on in my mind right now (I'm not talking about blogging, so don't worry; I'm talking about journaling).  Whether that's healthy or not depends on how I handle it.  I don't want to get journaling diarrhea, but I'm also not interested in being spiritually constipated.  Sorry for the analogy, but it makes the point really well.

For now I'll have to stick with one humongous thought that I just had today.  I want to develop it a lot, but talking about it here will help.

I was thinking about how when we have Judah, I really hope he gets excited when I come home from seminary or from RD ministry or from a trip.  I remember a friend whose two-year-old son would flip out when he heard the garage door opening because he knew that daddy was home.  I remember how my brothers and I would burst out the front door and race up to the top of our driveway when we saw Dad's red Ford Escort turn in the driveway and pause.  He'd wait for us to get to the car, and he always let one of us sit on his lap and steer down our hundred-yard driveway.  We loved it.  We loved him.  Just tonight, Cindi was telling me that my fifteen-month-old nephew Jackson was basically hyperventilating today when he saw his dad (Cindi's brother) in the airport after two weeks of being apart.  That's love—unfeigned, unashamed, unbridled.  It's more than love; it's pure delight.

I hope Judah loves me like that.  I want him to be uncontainably excited when he sees me.  I want him to not be able to control himself when he hasn't seen me for a week and I come around the corner at the airport.  As all these thoughts ran through my mind today, I started thinking of all the other things I wanted Judah to do in relation to me.

I want him to enjoy spending time with me.  I want him to get excited when he gets to go to the zoo with me.  I want him to listen to my counsel and my correction and my encouragement and my guidance.  I want him to trust me when I tell him that it's safe for him to jump in the pool because I'll hold him up.  I want him to learn to stick out his hand and greet people when I introduce him instead of clinging to my leg and hiding from them.  I want him to come to me when there are "monsters" in his room instead of pulling the covers over his head and being petrified.  When I discipline him, I want him to know that it's because I love him.  When I praise him, I want him to believe that it's not just rhetoric.  When I listen to him, I want him to know that he matters to me.

And what I realized is that this is how my Father thinks.

I say this not because I can just take my own imaginative thoughts and juxtapose them onto the mind of God and say, "God must think this way, too," but because so many of the ways I want Judah to relate to me are ways that God my Father has said he wants me to relate to Him.

He wants me to enjoy spending time with Him, because it's not "spending time in the Word and in prayer," but a lively conversation in which I pour out my heart (prayer) and I hear His heartbeat and His instruction (the Bible).  He wants me to get excited when I get to walk around in His creation and see the things He's made for His glory and my enjoyment.  He wants me to listen to His counsel and His correction and His encouragement and His guidance.  He wants me to trust Him when He tells me to jump into a scary situation or embrace a painful trial, because He wants me to believe that He'll hold me up even if I think I'm going to drown.  He wants me to stick my neck out and interact intimately with His people instead of hiding behind "I'm scared" and "I've been hurt before" and "I'm too busy" and "I don't know how."

He wants me to run to Him when there are "monsters" in my life instead of trying to prove that I can handle them on my own and ending up as an anxious, over-burdened, irritable, scared wreck.  When He disciplines me, He wants me to know that it's because He loves me.  When He affirms me, He wants me to believe that He really means it.  When He listens to me, He wants me to know that I really do matter to Him.

God, my Father, wants me to respect Him and follow Him and obey Him and love Him and enjoy Him and fear Him and respond to Him and love what He loves and hate what He hates.  He wants me to look like Him when I grow up.  He wants me to root for who He roots for and stand against what He stands against.  He wants me to never be ashamed of Him or embarrassed that He's my Father.

Because I love Judah so much, I want so much for him and from him.  I want our relationship to be sweet and deep and meaningful and biblical.  But through this I realize that God wants all of this and more from me.  He longs for it.  He calls me to it.  He invites me into it.  This is genuinely and consistently awesome.  This makes me so excited to be God's son.

It is good to think of being Judah's father.  And it's really good to think of God being my Father.  I hope I grow to love Him, just like I want Judah to love me.  And I hope I look like Him when I grow up.  Because as I hope to explain to Judah as the years go by, He really is great.


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