We spontaneously dropped in on friends last evening. This area of the United States is not fond of spontaneous visits. Much better to plan. But planning gets wearisome and so we decided to go against the cultural norms. We arrived on our friends doorsteps as they were finishing dinner.
We picked the right people. We were welcomed with arms open and ended up staying for over two hours.
Soon after we arrived, their youngest child, Francy, came into the room. Francy hasn’t seen us in over a year and she is little. She walked into the room, took one look at us, and ran up to us bursting with smiles. Golden ringlets falling over her face, she jumped into my husband’s arms, hugging him tight.
I watched, astonished. Here was a child completely secure and utterly loved. She had no fear of rejection or dismissal. She jumped into Cliff’s arms with complete abandon, certain that she would be welcomed.
In recent weeks I’ve been thinking about God’s love. Intellectually, I know God loves me. I know, by heart, verses that confirm this. I know it as fact. But as life has become more and more complicated, my heart does not believe. I do not trust that I will be welcomed with open arms. I do not throw myself, with utter abandon, into the arms of God. Rather, I approach him as I approach New Englanders; tentatively, warily, uncertain of the response.
Francy’s entrance reminded me that it hasn’t always been like this. My approach to God hasn’t always been wary and uncertain. There was a time when I, like Francy, threw myself into the arms of God. In those moments, my head and heart connected — the verses that I knew by heart became a living reality. I knew, in the deepest place, that I was loved.
What if I truly believed– and lived — as one loved by God?
What if I walked in the security and confidence that a child, secure in the love of a parent walks?
I know instinctively that my life would be different. Delight, goodness, warmth, compassion, joy, honesty, truth — all those would be characteristics that flow from a life lived in light of the love of God. I would not do things to gain favor. I would have no need of self-promotion. I would walk in security.
How much I am missing!
This weekend I have time to reflect and pray. Time that I haven’t had in a while. As I reflect on God and his love, Francy’s face keeps on popping up in my mind, like a slideshow on repeat.
“God, help me to be more like Francy. Help me to walk as a beloved one.”