A Father Who Delights in Us

A few years ago, our family enjoyed a single Christmas gift–a trip to ski in New Mexico.  Many years had passed since our last trip and we were now celebrating our first Christmas with our daughter-in-law.  We made last minute arrangements, piled into my pickup, and dashed toward the mountains, ready to make memories.  The conditions were wonderful and we had a great time, but something happened on our second day, something that became my favorite moment.

Midway through our final afternoon, I tweaked a knee and I decided that it would be wise to call it a day.  (And I was already spent, although I refused to admit it!)  Kelly and I were ready to find a great spot to sit in the sun, watching the skiers while we savored hot coffee.  So, our sons took off to explore the Taos Ski Valley without us.  When they returned two hours later, they were gleeful–literally, that’s the only way I can describe it.  They chattered away, giving a very animated description of what they had done together.  It was wonderful to see them reliving their accomplishment and camaraderie.  But instead of jealousy over missing out, I found a strange and abiding delight in their experience without us.  I had introduced them to this mountain, but on that afternoon, they made it their own.

I have mulled over that experience many times in the years since.  It was a different joy than anything else I could remember.  I delighted IN them, in their learning, their adventure, their growth and confidence.  I had raised them to experience it, wanting them to be confident without being arrogant, and on that afternoon I had the opportunity to see that.  It was so fun, so satisfying.

When Jesus came so long ago, He didn’t come to introduce a new set of rules.  He came to open the door to a much bigger life.  Obedience wouldn’t be framed with shame or performance, not with a desire to reduce our lives.  He came to bring us a freedom and confidence we had never known.  Because of what He did, we can now come into God’s presence with confidence and approach Him with assurance.  Just as I had cheered them to get up again every time they fell on the slopes, God now is more focused on our getting up for the next challenge and opportunity.  The guilt for falling has already been addressed by Jesus.  Falling and failing can hurt, but it’s not the end and Jesus came to make it possible for us to experience that much bigger life, a life that could be both challenging and delightful, joy filled.

But to start that, He chose to identify with our weakest moment–our birth.  He came as a baby, but He would finish His redemption mission as a King.  And now, He delights in His children, just as I delighted in mine on that sunny, cold afternoon in the mountains.  Every day we exercise faith to trust Him as we make decisions, work, play, love, and serve, He delights in His own power and grace at work in us.

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