Do you have a best friend? I mean a super-close friend? Maybe it's your spouse or someone at work. Do you have a go-to friend like that? I do. What an incredible blessing these special relationships are! Sadly, relationships like those seem to be getting harder and harder to find these days.
Have you ever been separated from a close friend or relative for a while and then, when you see them again or when you even think of them, you break into a big smile? Why is that? How can a simple thought create joy? I think there's something else to it. Perhaps the thought triggers a pleasant memory. Or maybe it was a touch - a hug when you were feeling down, or a kiss from that special someone in your life.
My immediate family triggers smiles for me - especially my brother and my sister. We'll get together, like we did last month for our family reunion, and it's like we were never apart. We always start off our reunions with a hug. But it's not long before we begin lovingly picking on each other or trying to gross-out each other. It's amazing. But the best times are the memories . . . the "remember whens."
"Do you remember when Tom was little and he (fill in the blank)." or "Hey, Mary, what were the lyrics of that Ricky Nelson song?" Time spent with family & close friends is irreplaceable and the relationships are priceless.
As I think about my earthly relationships today, I wonder if I have the same relationship with God. Is He some far-off authority figure in our lives? Or is he a close friend, someone we can tell anything to? When we think about Jesus, does He make us smile?
While it is true that we should all have a healthy fear of God, and by that I mean a deep respect and knowledge that He is in charge and is Lord of our lives. Yet, despite all that, I think there needs to be a friendship of sorts. Let me show you what I mean.
I'd like to introduce you to my grandson. I took this picture of him and my daughter this summer. I would invite you to examine his face. Look at his eyes and how they are looking lovingly, transparently, unconditionally in his aunt's eyes. And the smile.
He is not concerned that he is being suspended five feet above the ground and that he could accidentally be dropped and injured. No. He trusts. He is not concerned whether or not his diaper is wet or that his grandpa is taking his picture. No. He is totally focused on the face in front of his eyes. Total . . . focus . . . and love.
Is that how our relationship with Jesus is? Is he someone we totally trust in situations when we have every right to doubt or fear? Do we come before Him in prayer with the same longing in our hearts that my grandson has in his eyes? I pray we do.
Yes, we should have a healthy, drop to our knees, submission to the will of our Almighty God. But let us not forget that He longs to gather us to himself like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings (Matthew 23:37). Let us not forget the kind of faith we must have if we are to enter into His kingdom. We must have the faith of a child. We must yearn to look into His eyes, fearless and childlike, our sins forgiven and "cast as far as the east is from the west" (Psalm 103:12). Let us not be afraid to run to Him and jump into His arms when our eyes fix upon His face. He is "the author and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). May we continue to grow in His wisdom and in His grace but may we do so with the heart of a little child.
"13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them." - Mark 10:13-16
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus by Alan Jackson