I love camping. My 15 month old daughter also loves camping, possibly more than I do. We have spent a good third of our summer sleeping in cabins or tents, splashing in chilly lake water, and getting really, really dirty on whatever beach or trail we happen to be exploring that day. It has been so fun to watch her experience God’s creation.
Throughout all of this I noticed something very special about her attitude.
My daughter loves me in a way that makes her feel invincible as long as she is with me.
If I’m watching her from a distance, she will be very careful about climbing in and out/up or down things. She will splash safely in the shallow end of the lake. She will explore and play, but not the way she does when I am closer. The second I hold her hand, she will run and splash chest deep into the lake, squealing with delight. She leaps off of stairwells, playground equipment, or whatever else. She moves her body in a completely different way, throwing her head back, twisting and turning, always trusting that I will keep her safe.
When we camped in a tent, I slept next to her on the ground. She woke up a few times and started to get upset. Then she reached out her perfect little hand and touched my face. She immediately calmed and went right back to sleep. I was there.
She feels about me the way I need to feel about God. Completely trusting, and wholly dependant.
I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
We certainly should not put our God to the test, but having a childlike faith that truly believes God can and will move mountains is why Jesus spoke about having faith like a child.
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Norah is right that she can jump higher and further with my grasp firm around her. She can go deeper into the water with me holding her up. My daughter relinquishes her own strength and ability and depends on mine, and when she does she can do so much more.
As she grows, I will certainly do what I can to nurture independence and her spirit of adventure. I will also continue to do all I can to be strong when she is weak. Our complete trust and dependence on God serves a much higher purpose than Norah’s dependence on me.
2 Timothy 4:17-18
But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
What a life we can live when we relinquish our own strength and give ourselves to God. We are so much more.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.