FFH - Found A Place - Devotional #7
- Thursday, March 02, 2000
In God's Lap
by Jeromy Deibler
Read Mark 10:14-16
My parents (Craig and Mary) were high school sweethearts. They were married soon after my Mom's graduation (she was two years behind my Dad), and I was born shortly thereafter. By the time I was three or four they were divorced and I was spending weeks with my Mom and weekends with my Dad; you know the drill. After the divorce my Mom went back to work and I spent my days at a day-care center conveniently located on the way to my Mom's job. One afternoon while I was staying at the day-care center, my Grandfather, whom I named "Pa Paw" as soon as I could speak, picked me up for a makeshift field trip to the local airport to look at some airplanes. This extra time and attention was not unusual for him; he and my Ma Maw were the parents of three daughters and no sons, so I gladly took the place of "grandson/son-he-never-had." When Pa Paw arrived at the center what he saw broke his heart. Napping kids slobbering on rubber mats. Adults horribly outnumbered by toddlers. A playground surrounded by an eight-foot chain link fence. It was almost jail-like. My Pa Paw went home distressed, walked in the door and informed my Ma Maw that she would be quitting her job immediately because his grandson would not be spending any more time at the day-care center.
I spent most of my time those next years with my Ma Maw and Pa Paw. Fortunately our house was just down the lane from theirs and I could be with them whenever I wanted - and that was most of the time. My Ma Maw and I would make cookies and bake blueberry and shoofly pies together (I'm drooling on my laptop). My Pa Paw and I would split wood and make ice cream together - you know, guy stuff. And at the end of almost every day I would crawl up into his big lap on our favorite chair and fall asleep. I was safe, I was home. Life under the umbrella of my grandparents' protection and nurturing was good, and as I grew up it was the main life-shaping factor in my life.
This past November we performed in Hershey, PA, about twenty minutes from my hometown. It had been almost a year since I had seen Ma Maw and Pa Paw (the longest we had ever gone without seeing each other). I was excited for the brief visit after the concert but more excited that we would be spending the following afternoon together at their house in Lancaster (Ma Maw was cooking dinner for us and our crew). Ma Maw couldn't stand to wait until after the show and came to the bus to see me while we were getting ready. Pa Paw went in to secure the seats. After the concert they stopped by the autograph line to give us quick hugs and kisses and say they would see us the next day. What happened next changed my life and gave me a "God's Heart" understanding of Matthew 10. My Pa Paw squeezed his 6'2", 260-pound frame between the edge of the autograph table and the wall and meet me with a huge, Pa Paw sized hug. This was not unexpected, because I come from a big family of huggers and kissers. Just ask Michael. At a festival this past year my aunt Cindy gave him a kiss on the cheek while we were whisked by her on our way to the autograph line. She had never met Michael before, or at least he didn't think so. Mike sat down at the table and said in amazement, "that woman over there in the red just kissed me." I said "that's ok, Mike, she's my aunt."
My point is that for Pa Paw to find me and hug even in the middle of a mob was nothing unusual. What happened when we hugged was. As he drew me with his arms against his chest I returned the squeeze. And when I put my head over his shoulder our cheeks touched. Did you hear itour cheeks touched. What could be more intimate that two people touching faces. It was a wonderfully intimate time amidst a bustling crowd. For a moment I was four years old again. God stopped time and allowed me to remember what it was like to feel that safe, that close. It was as if the past twenty years had never happened and I was that little boy. Well, the moment ended and we said our brief good-byes, but on the bus that night I found myself longing for that feeling of home. Longing to crawl up into my Pa Paw's hearty lap and fall asleep. Like a little kid, I could not wait for tomorrow afternoon to come.
I am convinced that for us to see the kingdom come in our lives it has to start with a child-like longing for time with the father. Not just time, but intimate time. Like the four year old that loved to fall asleep in Pa Paw's lap we need to long for "lap-time" with the Father. Jesus knew this better that anyone. That's why He was always off in lonely places praying - but I don't think He was lonely in those places. The amazing thing is that, when we long for time with Him, God will meet us and stop the world to get intimate with us. Knowing the Father's heart starts with being in close proximity to it. Close enough to hear it beat, close enough to hear Him whisper. Long enough to fall asleep.
"Lord, I need to fall asleep in Your arms. I'm tired of being tired. I need to be close enough to You to hear Your heartbeat. Teach me to long for You, Father, and help me to desire intimacy with You."
For further thought and discussion
1. Am I experiencing "lap-time" with the Father? If so, what has it taught me?
2. If not, what in my schedule do I need to rearrange to make sure I spend intimate time with the Father everyday. Make a list of these things and start to reprioritize your days to put God first and other "stuff" second.
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