“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” — John 15:5
I am humbled, honored and blessed to be a dad to four beautiful kids. My two oldest are boys, while my two youngest are girls. My view and understanding of who God is changed the moment each one of them were born. It not only changed, but I began to have a deeper appreciation for His love toward me as a Heavenly Father.
All of a sudden I started realizing what true love is — unconditional love. The kind of love that doesn’t have an agenda. I’m in no way saying the love God has for me is the same as the love I have for my own kids, but it did allow me to start understanding God’s love in a much deeper way than I did before becoming a dad. I started understanding more about sacrifice and commitment. I began to comprehend the statement that says, “Watching your kids is like watching your heart outside of your body.” I would want to trade places with them in a heartbeat to reduce or eliminate their pain or hurt.
As the years are going by, my wife and I are enjoying this chapter of our lives and watching our kids grow and mature. Just last year, we realized that we had one in college, one in high school, one in middle school, and one in elementary. Wow! That was just exhausting to type out. We did our best to juggle all their activities while receiving emails from administrators, teachers and coaches.
Great advice given to us as young parents was to enjoy each stage of their life and not to rush the stage they are currently in. We find ourselves appreciating having older kids. Dinner conversations tend to be more mature … well, sometimes. Occasionally, we will observe our older kids doing something kind and out of the ordinary for a younger sibling. Nothing thrills my heart more than when our kids are actually communicating and getting along. Pastor Andy Stanley says, “Our goal as parents is for our kids to want to hang out with each other when they no longer have to hang out with each other.”
I must admit, though, that occasionally my mind takes me back to when my boys were younger. We would wrestle on our king-size bed. My heart smiles just thinking of those times when I would look at either Jimmy or Jack in the living room or in the kitchen and say, “Wanna piece”? Their eyes grew big and the smiles on their faces would widen. We would then take off to the master bedroom and rip off our shirts and begin flexing toward each other. We would get in opposite corners of the ring — I mean the bed — and begin to introduce ourselves. Dad “the Destroyer” seemed to be my wrestling name as I introduced myself to my opponent.
We usually wrestled for three rounds, declaring a winner for each round. Every match ended the same way. The first round was usually won by one of my sons, the second round “the Destroyer” took easily, which then, of course, led to the infamous third round. As I would body slam them, drop flying leg kicks to their back and massive elbow drops, I would save my ferocious headlock for the final seconds. As they would eventually break free, they had just enough time to climb the top ropes (our headboard) and jump onto my back to begin putting on the “choke of death.” Our “wanna piece” time would come to an end with me introducing the winner and nine out of 10 times the belt was awarded to Jimmy or Jack — I couldn’t let them win all the time.
As I reflect on that time of connecting and laughing with my boys, I can’t help but think that God is craving the same type of relationship with me. He desperately wants to spend time with me. He wants to connect and ask us, “Wanna piece?” By answering “yes,” we get to enter through the Holy Place and into the Holy of Holies and spend intimate time with our Heavenly Dad. We get to laugh, cry, have fun and make memories with God Himself. What an amazing concept only made possible by Christ’s death and resurrection. I hope you realize we have direct access to spend time with Christ. My prayer is that when He asks, “Wanna piece,” our answer is always “yes!”
Prayer: “God, thank You for being my Dad. Thank You for allowing me to have direct access to You. May my heart’s desire and ultimate craving in life be Your presence.”
— Jim Good
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