Note: This devotional is an adaptation of a blog post I did on Reflections of a Christian Daddy
Celeste is not an affectionate child by any stretch of the imagination – if I ask for a hug or a kiss I’m promptly met with a curt “No.” She is not a big cuddler and has only recently started to allow me to rock her after reading her stories at bed time (but I still have to put her down before she falls asleep). For the record, yes, she is a Daddy’s girl, and yet she still sometimes treats me like the plague
This past week, though, two special moments happened. She has, in the past couple of months, allowed me to rock her for a little while after we read stories and before she goes to bed. One evening I was rocking her with the lullaby playing and she rolled over and said, “Shoulder, Daddy, shoulder.” (translation: “Daddy, I want to lay my head down on your shoulder.”) So she promptly rolled over and put her head on my shoulder. We rocked for several minutes listening to her lullaby and she looked up and gave me a kiss on my cheek – out of the blue. I said, “Lestee, did you just give me a kiss on my cheek?” and she replied, “Yes, Daddy. I wuv oo much.” Then she did it a second time.
The other new thing that happened this week is that twice (read that again – TWICE) she fell asleep while I was rocking her. Both times she told me, “Shoulder, Daddy, shoulder.” and the next thing I knew she was fast asleep. So I just continued to rock her for another few minutes and enjoyed my daughter resting in my arms.
Now she doesn’t do it often – I can count these incidents on one hand (and still have fingers to spare!) – but when she does it is very special. As I sat there today I realized that part of the reason she can rest like that in my arms is because she trusts me: trusts me to protect her, care for her, treasure her, and not to harm her. And within that trust she can lay down and rest.
Isn’t it interesting that God told the Hebrews to call him “Abba”? The best English translation I’ve heard for “Abba” is “Daddy”. Mark Driscoll once said in a sermon that if we want to understand prayer we need to listen to how a toddler talks to their Daddy. If Celeste can rest in my arms because she knows I will protect, care for, and treasure her and never harm her – me, imperfect Tom – then why is it I have so much trouble resting in the arms of my Daddy – my perfect Daddy? Surely He will protect, care for, and treasure me infinitely more than I do Celeste, and surely he will not harm me. Why is it my little girls can talk to me about the most mundane things – and I love it when they do – but so often I treat God as nothing more than the Cosmic Santa Claus who is there to grant my “wishes” and then I get upset when he doesn’t?
Check out these scriptures:
Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” (Rom 8:15)
And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” (Gal 4:6)
So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. (Matt 7:11)
I believe this is one of those examples where our kids teach us more than we teach them. What’s that saying? “Out of the mouth of babes?” Well, in this case, it wasn’t out of the mouth of babes, but it was certainly from the actions of one…