I took the kids to a local splash pad today, just to get them out of the house and to cool off (and make some space for sanity for me). Usually I take my tablet or a book along to occupy myself while they drench themselves and run wild. But today I didn’t; no books, no tablet. I didn’t even have my brief case in the car. I just felt that I needed to “be present,” something that I have to be very intentional about. Even wore my swim shorts… although the likelihood of me getting wet (by choice) was slim to none.
It took no time at all for the kids to befriend others at the park, and they all were having a grand ol’ wet time. It was actually quite amusing to watch. There was this one little boy, maybe 4, 5 years old, who was having the time of his life sitting on top of one of the fountain spouts on the ground. He was laughing hysterically! There was another group of seven or eight kids who would run under the spraying splashing water, and once sufficiently drenched, would run to the sliding boards where they would come flying off the end of the board on their bums, sliding on artificial turf. They did this over and over again, squealing and laughing like they had lost their minds (they, in fact, had me wondering).
As I watched all this, it occurred to me that this park was not exactly ‘glamorous’ or fancy. I mean, it wasn’t bad, but you would have thought these kids were at Disney World or something. And as I silently wondered about this, the words “pure delight” came floating up in my heart. That was exactly it: simple and sincere pure delight. A smile crossed my face as I took it in. But then, I had another thought, a somewhat troubling thought.
I was a child much like them once… or so I am told. Yet the memories of such pure delight are distant and dim. Why? What happened in the passing years that such a state of mind and heart were almost all but erased? At this point I am becoming aware that the Spirit of God is moving in my heart.
In teaching his disciples a lesson in humility, Jesus pointed to the little children (Matthew 18:3), but in this case the Holy Spirit wanted me to understand something about the relationship between child and father.
Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
I believe that part of what Jesus was trying teach was a sense of security in the Father’s love, in this case demonstrated in how He provides for His own. The thought crossed my mind, “I’m willing to wager that not one of these kids out here is worried about their next meal, or whether or not they’ll have a bed to sleep in tonight, or even how they’re going to get home. Why? Because, in their simple little minds, it’s a given. They know these things are provided for because this has been their experience. They are loved and cared for, and so (and this is important) there is no room for such thinking in their hearts.” Why is this important? In the parable of The Sower and the Seed (Luke 8:1ff) Jesus speaks of those who’s fruitfulness was choked out because of “life’s worries, riches and pleasures” (v.14). “Lemuel… ‘Joy’ is a fruit of the Spirit.”
As the head of my home, I take seriously my charge to provide for and to care for my children, but I have often forgotten that I am also a child, with a Father Who promises to care for me. But truth be told I’ve let the “cares of this life” drive out joy, and the joy of trust. I don’t expect my kids to worry about what’s beyond their scope, control or responsibility… and neither does my Father for me.
These kids were filled with the pure delight of living because there was nothing present to drive it out. There was plenty of room for sheer joy. Wow. I only know a few adults like that. I’d like to become one of them. I’m not talking about goofiness; I’m talking about living in such a way as to not allow the delight of God to be driven from my heart and soul.
I’m not about to tell you that I’ve “learned my lessons well;” right now, it’s head knowledge. Letting go and trusting God in some areas of my life is the hardest thing for me to do sometimes. Some of the “cares of my life” include woundings, bruises, betrayals and abandonment. None of these are easy obstacles to overcome. But none of these changes the character and nature of God. As I’ve written before, He is a “Good, Good Father,” and He cares for me.
Oh Father God, help me to cast off all my cares, because YOU care for ME. May I DELIGHT in You always, trusting in Your mercy and love for me!