"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Saturday in the Park ... or Marietta Square

The party was held across the street at Marietta Pizza. At least that's where we gathered for lunch to celebrate and love on a certain little fellow turning 3.

From the paper on the presents to the car on the cake, the theme was Lightning McQueen from top to bottom.

After pizza, singing happy birthday, blowing out candles,

eating cake, and one last pitstop, we headed across the street to Marietta Square for a little run in the sun to wear off some sugar. I told the little guy he had to hold my hand to cross the street, to which he quickly agreed, keeping it there all the way up to the fountain in the middle of the square where he let go and immediately flung his body prostrate on the bricks, plunging his newly released hand into the still icy water.

Upon seeing the coins, he said, "I need some money." Of course, this grandmother went straight to her purse, and when the pennies were gone, started handing out nickels, all to the delights of a little boy with a strong throwing arm.

The next hour was spent following the now 3-year old all over the square: from the fountain to the stage, back to the fountain, to the stage again, to the fountain, to the train, to the stage, to the train, to the fountain and on and on it went until he grabbed his "Fred" from his daddy, looked at his mommy and said, "I'm ready to go home now." She gathered him in her arms, and he stuck his thumb in his mouth and placed his head on her shoulder. He had played enough and it was nap time.

It has been a long time since I witnessed so much energy. But I can tell you one thing, there was never a single moment when his parents' or grandparents' eyes were not on that child and when we were not following him every step he made. Whether he was up to his elbows in fountain water, doing "tricks" on the stage,

sliding down the slide

or ringing the bell on the train,

he was under our watchful eye and care. And yes, while we were enjoying his merriment, we were also making sure he didn't plunge into the water, fall off the stage, topple from the train or run into the street. 

And as I followed him from the train back to the stage for at least the 4th time, a thought suddenly occurred to me: is this not how God sees me? Am I not constantly under HIS watchful eye? And in that watching, does He, too, not find joy?

For some reason, we have bought into the lie that God is some stern Judge in the sky who is constantly waiting -- watching -- for us to mess up, to commit again that sin that so besets and torments us, to fall off that slippery slope. Why are we so determined to make Him into someone He is not? Why can we not believe that He is a God who delights in watching us even MORE than a grandmother delights in watching her grandson play? Yes! We are forever under His watchful eye. But He isn't tallying our wrongs. He isn't say, "Yep,I knew you'd mess it up again." No, He's crediting our faithfulness as righteousness according to Romans 4. Why can we not get that?

Dear one, embrace the fact that Your God not only beholds you as the apple of His eye, but He rejoices over You with singing and He dances over you with great celebration. Yes, even more than a grandmother watching her grandson on a Saturday in the square. And as anybody knows, that's a bucket load of JOY!

Just an ordinary moment...

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