My husband is a conundrum.
Standing at six feet six inches tall, with broad shoulders and a no- nonsense-I-am-not-amused countenance, he has more than once caused folks to think twice before approaching him. Perfect when you want some young buck that wants to date your daughter to take a moment of pause, but not so great when trying to meet new people in a social situation. “No, my husband isn’t upset…that IS his happy face!” The conundrum is that he is also a KID MAGNET! Seriously, kids love this guy! Toddlers especially gravitate to him and delight in the big teddy bear that they seemed to instinctively know is behind that big, scary frame.
One of the things that kids love best about my husband is that he is happy to pick them up and hold them. All that any wobbly- legged toddler has to do is lift chubby little arms in my husband’s direction and he will scoop them into his arms and lift them up, up, up into a snugly embrace. Yep, my husband has a gooey nugget center that is exposed by the babble of a toddler, or the smile of a child.
Our own children found in him an immediate play-mate and silliness partner in crime; and someone who always had space in his arms for them. In one form or another he has been holding his children for many years. He has given countless piggy back rides and pick-me-up snuggles. He has taken a thousand steps through malls, and theme parks, and vacation strolls with a child who was too tired to walk one more step balanced on his shoulders. He also comes in very handy in the event that we are stuck behind a crowd at a parade. From the high and secure perch of his shoulders our children have always been given an unobstructed view of all that was going on around them.
Just recently I was reminded again of how kids are drawn to my husband and how he delights in them. My daughter was having a graduation party and during the midst of the celebrations I saw my husband with an armload of kids. A sweet brother and sister had scaled up his body and were firmly nestled into his arms; babbling away and planting sticky wet kisses on his face. And what was my husband doing during all of this? SMILING! I have never seen him, not once, refuse to pick up any child that approached him with uplifted arms and a look of pleading on their faces. He has never, not once, told a child that was pulling on his leg trying to reach the nest of his arms to get down or go away. He has never, not once, told a child that they were too heavy or a bother. He ALWAYS opens his arms and enfolds them in his strong and tender embrace.
I know another father that is like this.
God, our Abba Father, delights in holding his children.
On first glance, you may see God as an imposing figure. He is after all, King of all creation…and slightly bigger than six feet six inches! Look closer. In your awe of his mighty presence can you also see his father’s heart? Like any good father, he cannot resist his children with uplifted arms and a need to be held.
We can lift our arms in worship and praise. We can lift our arms in desperation and pain. We can lift our arms in gratitude and humility. We can lift our arms in rejoicing and thanksgiving. No matter the reason, when we lift our arms to our Father he NEVER fails to respond. He has never, not once, refused to pick up his children. He has never, not once, looked at us as we pull on his leg and plead to be held, and told us to get down, or leave him alone. He has never, not once, told any of his children that we are too heavy or too much of a burden to carry. He simply lifts us into the safety and comfort of his embrace.
Are you tired of walking alone? Do you feel like you can’t take not one more step. Lift your arms to your father. Let him hold you close and then boost you up onto his strong, solid shoulders. Let him show you the world over the heads of the crowd, over the hustle and bustle of it all. Let him remind you of your preciousness as he tucks you in close and let him fill your spirit with joy as he gallops you through highest mountains and lowest valleys. Oh how it delights him when we snuggle in and shower him with our love and praise, babbling on and covering his face with wet, sticky kisses.
How lucky we are to have such a wonderful and loving father!