Most every Saturday, I spend the day with my 7 year old son, Luke. This is a new commitment for me this year, one I have enjoyed immensely. In the past I tried to have this “rhythm” but it didn’t last. Despite good intentions, I didn’t have accountability in place to keep me going. To be completely honest, in 2015 and 2016 I had other priorities that came before Luke. At the end of last year it hurt my heart to see our relationship was far from where I had hoped it would be.
Just this morning, I believe I got a sign from God that we were at a new level in our relationship as a result of months of Saturday “Daddy Days.” A few months ago I was asked to speak to the 6th-8th graders at the weekly chapel at Luke’s school, and I was excited to do so. We’d recently returned from a cross country trip, so this morning it was a little crazy as I got ready for the talk, but Nicole and I agreed at the last minute that although Luke was just in first grade, he should attend the middle school chapel. When we arrived, Luke and I were greeted by the Head of School, the person who originally asked me to speak. He kindly sat with Luke in the back of the auditorium. The talk went well and afterwards I had planned to drop Luke off at his classroom and head back to the office to start my work day.
As we arrived on the elementary campus, Luke’s class was just leaving for PE. Luke put his stuff on his desk and then turned to me with this look on his face that I had seen before. I immediately wondered why he was about to cry, as he pulled me into the kitchen that is off of their classroom. I then heard the words I won’t soon forget: “Daddy, don’t leave me, I want you to stay with me.”
Luke was full of so much emotion it was hard for him to articulate what was going on. I had heard these words before, but it had been some time ago. After several minutes of tears and conversations with his teacher (twice) and the school’s secretary, he was able to explain to me what was upsetting him. He simply wanted to hang out more—he usually didn’t get to spend all morning with Dad, and today had been so fun. Possibly the “Daddy Days” are having a greater impact than I had thought? My son actually wanted more of me.
All this makes me ask the question: Are we experiencing regular “Daddy Days” with our Heavenly Father? Are we spending so much time with him that we are crying and asking not to be separated from Him like Luke was with me this morning?
God opened my eyes to three things he desires for our relationship with Him:
- We are commanded to love God and Jesus with all we got: “Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. (Mark 12:29-30).
Luke was not letting go this morning as he was loving me with all he had, and I had a front row seat to this love. He loved being with me and wanted to stay with me.
- We are to live, to “walk” in the same way Jesus lived: “but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked”(1 John 2:5-6). We have explored this idea before about what drove Jesus up Calvary’s mountain to be crucified for us. If we are to walk in the way Jesus did do you think this includes loving God the Father as Jesus did?
- Our Heavenly Father wants us to have an authentic relationship with Him as Jesus did, expressing our deep heartfelt desires even when it is uncomfortable in the worldly realm, like Luke did when he was sobbing in front of his classmates who were trying to figure out what was going on with their normally joyful friend. “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:38).
Our Heavenly Father wants us to have the greatest relationship with Him, like He had with Jesus. He wants us totally ruined with tears and sobbing when we are pulled away from Him. I believe this is part of what was going on with Jesus in the Garden Of Gethsemane when He knew what lay in front of Him—being forsaken and disconnected from the Father in order to bear our sins and forever rectify us with God the Father.
I have never had experience like Luke had with me, but I hope to.
What experiences have you had that resembles what Luke experienced this week?
May we long to be with God the Father and cry violently like Jesus did in the Garden and how Luke did this morning when we are separated from our Heavenly Father.