I have a couple of my “bad Christian” friends that are betting on when the first grandpa blog would appear. Whoever had January 28th is the winner. This article is not about how beautiful Ethan Paul is or how excited Papa and Nana are to get to know him. I am, however, more than willing to write that blog. Today’s thoughts came from an isolated and tender moment that I didn’t even witness.
Since Ethan was a bit early the doctors were cautious about fluid building up in his lungs. To be sure that all was well they scheduled an x-ray on his second day. New dad Matt went along with Ethan for the procedure. Unswaddling him made the little guy unhappy and scared. As he grew more anxious his dad did what every loving father does for their child. He touched him to let Ethan know it was okay.
Our friend Jana happened to be at the nursery and captured the candid moment.
I keep thinking about that moment. How Matt instinctively knew that Ethan needed that touch. How Ethan wrapped his little fingers around dad’s big finger. And that Ethan calmed down because he knew that his father was there. Happily, all was okay with his lungs.
Today I prayed that more followers of Christ would seek the touch of the Heavenly Father when they are anxious, scared and uncertain. I love the story of Jesus healing the leper. Matthew (the Apostle) tells the story in the first Gospel book.
Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”
Imagine this scene. Lepers had to wear torn clothes and shout “unclean” so that people would stay away from them. Jesus could have said the word and he would have been healed. That is how he healed the paralyzed man. Christ raised a young girl from the dead while she was miles away from Him. But look at how He chose to heal this man.
Jesus reached out and touched him.
Can you imagine the emotion that must have run through this man who had likely not been touched in years? Jesus answered the man’s plea.
“I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. (Matthew 8, NLT)
We worship a Heavenly Father that is willing to touch and love us whenever we call out. No matter how needy. No matter how “unclean”. He is always willing to touch us and heal us spiritually. God never promised that our journey would be without struggle or pain. Physical healing does not always happen. But He did promise to always be with us. We are His precious children and Paul describes that tender heart of God the Father in this passage to the church in Rome.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. (Romans 8:14–16, NLT)
Abba is an endearing and intimate title for God the Father that could be translated, “Father, my own dear Father.” It is the title a child uses to relate to a father when the child knows that he or she is dear to Him, the one He delights in. I remember my friend Ed Underwood sharing how he desperately sought the touch of the Father while battling a deadly cancer.
“So, last night was so much more than a night of malaise, it was a night I spent on my Father’s lap, talking with Him about my fears, feelings, and hurts. It is the upside of suffering for the child of God–deepening intimacy with Abba Father.”
What an amazing thought and insight. The upside of suffering is deepening intimacy with Abba Father. So precious Ethan reminded me again of my own fraility. And how when I am frightened I need to wrap my tiny fingers around His mighty hand.