I am currently in the midst of a job search and I’ve taken a few recent trips for interviews.  Our six year old son, Isaiah, loves airplanes and airports and suitcases and trips so he’s loved dropping me off at the airport with my wife.  Inevitably there’s a bit of whining on these trips to drop me off.  Isaiah tells us he “wants to go with Papa”.
While I’d like to think that this desire stems from a need and desire within his little soul for time with his father, I’m sure it has more to do with riding on an airplane.
Candice and I have to explain to him that I’m going on a trip for work and there’s only one ticket, and if all goes well we will end up traveling to a new home and that’ll be just as exciting.  He usually doesn’t get it and starts pleading again.  He gets the responsibility and the privilege of holding my suitcase and my ticket for me.
He enjoys that.

When we were walking into the Indianapolis airport for my most recent trip Isaiah, again, implored us to let him go with me.  We tried to explain that he couldn’t come along.
And then he said something that broke my heart:
“Papa, I’ll be a good boy”
I melted.
Somehow my son had connected my assessment of his moral performance with my love for him and my desire to give him good gifts.  In his interpretation of the world, lack of an airplane ticket was caused by his actions, and if he worked hard enough he could “fix” it.  Somehow his little soul had linked the favor of his father with what he had done in the recent past. 
I got down on one knee and said:
“Oh son, I know. I know you’re a good boy.  And I love you even when you’re not a good boy.  I give you things because you’re my son, not because you’re a good boy.  Whether you’re a good boy or not, I wish you could come with me on this trip, but you can’t come this time.  It’s not because you’re not good.  It’s just because we don’t have a ticket for you.  This is just a trip for Papa this time”
Then I hugged him and held him tight.
My Father
I wonder how often The Father feels like I did in that moment.

I know that God loves me. I know that God gives good gifts to his children.  I know that our relationship is based on the righteousness of Christ and not the things I’ve done lately.
I know that grace is abundant.
But all too often I live like I need to earn it.  I try to make deals with Him to get what I deeply desire.  When I don’t get what I desire I inflate myself by blaming myself. 
How long will I keep making this life about me, forgetting that it’s about my Father?
How long until I listen to Him when He says:
“I can’t give you this right now, but I will when I can. And when I do, it will be because I am a good Father.  My gifts do not come out of who you can never be; my gifts come, from everlasting to everlasting, out of who I AM.”


Category: First Category

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