Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spin Me Around the Stars

Rose Jackson ©4/29/2009

(This is a slight departure from my usual style of post, but I'm so moved today by the sense that so many people, me included, truly need to feel God's love for them individually. I hope you get a glimpse of the godly man my Dad was, and I hope you have your own fun with God through this post!)

Crickets chirped in the warm summer night as I looked upward, expectantly waiting for my father to do what I’d longingly waited for. He lifted the long black tube of his hand-built telescope off its mount and set it delicately down in the soft grass. Darkness draped over us like a shawl, made lacy with the bright and faint punctuations of myriads of stars. Stars and planets were the awe of the evening, but my delight was in what sometimes happened next. My father swooped down, scooped me up, planted me gently on the flat mount atop his tripod, and spun me around. I looked up at the heavens in complete bliss as the stars whirled around me, covered with wonder and embraced in my father’s love.

I don’t think Dad ever knew how much what to him must have seemed just spontaneous silliness meant to me. He must have enjoyed it, though, because he did it many times. My father wasn’t a man given to horseplay, merriment, or even much conversation. He surely must have said it while I was young – I think – but I don’t remember hearing him say the words “I love you” until I was nearly 30. I knew his love when I stood beside him at his bench in the garage as he helped me hammer nails into a board or click the Morse code key of his radio, or when I sat in his lap as he read the Sunday funnies to me. But I felt his love when he spun me around the stars.

Today, flat on my face on the floor, crying out to experience, to feel, the love of my heavenly Father, this whisper of a memory came to me. In the vastness of the throne room of Heaven, surrounded by angelic hosts, bathed in the unapproachable light of the glory of God, knowing full well it’s only because of Jesus, I have the audacity to ask God for what I’d love: for my Father to step down, scoop me up, plant me atop the mount of his hand-made “telescope” – which is probably his very own hand - and spin me around the stars, covered with wonder and embraced in my Father’s love.

I know, I know; we ought to have a holy reverential fear of God, and I do. But I have to wonder, does it delight God when his child longs for and has the faith to ask for a simple moment of a Father’s daddy-ness? When his children delight simply in him, in who he is, in his love? Delight pops up in many verses of scripture - so why do I feel guilty when I long to look for God's love to delight me? I know my earthly Dad didn't take offense when I wanted to enjoy something special and Dad-daughter with him. Hmmm . . .

". . . the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love." Psalm 147:11

"The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

Some people are privileged to know an outpouring of fatherly love from their earthly fathers. Many more don’t. But I don’t think we need to fear taking to our heavenly Father that empty spot in our hearts that needs the embrace of a daddy’s spontaneous "silliness"/joy. I understand that the writer of Hebrews was talking about our weakness and temptation when he wrote, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need,” (Heb. 4:16) but I dare to trust that we can approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we can receive the lavish mercy of a Father's delighted love.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1

For now it’s a metaphor that brings me (and you too, I pray) peace and encouragement to ask God for experiences with him that delight my soul, but I also look forward expectantly to the day God my Father really does spin me around the stars!

A “. . . but . . .” to pray:

Father God, sometimes I feel so far from your love, and I think often it’s my earthly perception of love based on flawed experience, coupled with lingering “God of judgment” attitudes about you, that hold me back from truly knowing your love. BUT I dare to believe you meant it when you told the apostle Paul that nothing - not even my flawed attitudes - can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8: 38-39) So I have the faith-based audacity today to ask you to delight me with your love, show me some spontaneous fatherly ”silliness” that will mean the world to me, and help me delight, just purely delight, in you.

Your own “. . . but . . .” to pray:

Father God, I’ve been afraid sometimes to ask for an embrace from your love. Sometimes I’ve doubted you are willing to do that, BUT today I’m going to trust that _____________________.