Monday, October 09, 2006

just jump

Tim and Marianne came along to Sunday dinner at my parents' last night. We were all sitting around talking, and my dad loves to tell about his children being fearless from a young age.

My dad used to entertain my brother and I by throwing us into the air. I don't mean tossing us up a few inches from his fingertips - I mean feet above his head. Last night he compared it to the height of a basketball hoop, and I have vauge memories of watching him drop his arms as he waited for gravity to kick in and pull me back down. When I was a toddler I would shout, "Daddy, throw me," and run at him.

My little brother lived Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The house we were in when Zack was three or four had two levels - the living room was the upper level and the front door was below, but the living room ended in a balcony looking down on the foyer. When Dad came home from work, Zack would lie in wait (wearing an orange ninja mask and armed with whatever weapon he favored that day) and throw himself over the balcony at Dad ... who never failed to drop what he was carrying to catch his son.

It wasn't that we were brave - I don't know if five-year-olds can really be brave. Brave implies that you are aware of the worst that could happen as a result of your action and you act anyway. My brother and I were never really aware that we might fall from 10 feet onto a concrete sidewalk. We weren't brave - we trusted our father completely and simply had no concept that he might not catch us one time.


As my dad was recounting these stories to a captive audience I couldn't help but feel the yearning in God's heart to have that kind of relationship with his own children. I couldn't ignore that Jealousy that kept telling me, "If you'll just run and jump - throw yourself - at Me, how could I let you fall? I long for you to trust Me that way, to shrug off that absurd, nagging thought that My arms might not be there." I argued at first that it would be different now because I'm older and I do understand that there's a concrete sidewalk beneath us; now it wouldn't be innocence, it would have to be bravery. "No," He said, "just have faith like a child (Matthew 18:3) and destroy within you the concept that I might not catch you one time."

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