We had a full house this Easter.
Our whole family came to visit, including our three year-old and one year-old granddaughters, Eliza and Vivian (“Vivi”). Their parents were there, too, but that’s beside the point. (I’m kidding, of course, but grandparents have been known to fixate on their grandkids!) Melanie and I were delighted to have a week with the girls since they live two provinces and eleven hours away.
I was particularly thrilled with this visit because one year-old Vivi has recently learned a new word: “Papa!” She says it with a sparkle in her eye and a smile on her face. And she says it whenever she sees me. If you ask me, it’s my favourite sound in the world. I could listen to her calling my name all day!
As their visit was coming to a close, Vivi came down with a bad cold. Her eyes got droopy, her nose got runny, and her once-cherubic face became a gooey mess. Most of her last days with us, she sat in her highchair or held onto her mother, staring into space under the stupor of sickness. But every now and then she’d catch sight of me, a slight spark would return to her eye, and she’d manage a weak “Papa!”
And everytime she did that, it was a delight to me. Even though she was a gooey mess, she was my gooey mess.
This got me thinking about how God sees us. You see, I have no problem believing that God delights in me when I’m doing well and have my act together. But that’s not the case all of the time; maybe it’s not the case most of the time. Sometimes I’m a bit of a mess. And when that’s the reality, I can feel like hiding from God until I get things cleaned up.
Perhaps that sounds familiar to you.
What I’m learning, though, is that God is always delighted when I turn my (sometimes gooey) face to him and say his name: “Papa.” He could listen to me calling his name all day.
I was reminded of this during our 24/7 Prayer Week. As I spent time reflecting on Psalm 107, I noticed one phrase that was repeated over and over. Talking about those who had experienced God’s care and deliverance, it says:
“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love.”
Even when we have failed, God’s love remains constant. We may be a bit of a mess, but we’re his mess. And he’ll clean us up when we turn to him.
That might be a good word for you to hold onto this week. Wherever you are and whatever is going on, take a moment to turn your face to God and speak his name.
–Pastor Kevin (aka, Papa)