Yesterday in church we sang a song that repeated the line, “I am amazed by you,” several times in the chorus. As we were singing I heard the Lord say to me, “I am amazed by YOU.” I confess that at first I doubted that I was hearing from God, although I did recognize his voice. Like many of us, my feelings are usually more along the line of being disappointed in myself. As I pondered silently I realized that the “you” was not a single personal pronoun but a plural pronoun. God was talking about all of us there at church. Secondly, it was clear to me that the “amazement” he was expressing was truly full of joy and awe. That was part of what made this statement so puzzling.
Then I heard, “Do you think you have experienced anything as a parent that I haven’t experienced?” Along with this question came memories of sitting in the living room with our baby daughter coaxing her to let go of the coffee table and take the one step to my outstretched hands and the big deal we made of it when she did it. But then one day we walked into the living room to see her let go of the table and just walk across the room. We were amazed at her!
I then remembered trying to teach our son how to ride his two-wheeled bicycle for the first time, training wheels and all. He was a little frightened and I was certain he would not learn without a few scrapes and hoped the process would not include any broken bones. Then one day I came out in the front yard and he was just riding off down the sidewalk. I was amazed! It was like someone had been giving him lessons behind my back. No matter – I was so proud.
Then the Lord said, “When I have worked with you for a long time and then you just suddenly start doing it on your own, I am amazed just like you were with your children.” Something in my heart melted and went thump, thump, thump….
I wanted to do more to amaze him, to feel his joy in my success.
Then he said, “Gary, there are things you still need to turn loose of and just start walking in all I have for you. When you do I promise you I will be amazed for you!” My heart went thump, thump again.
In the aftermath of this experience, I began to think about my children. They are parents now with teenagers of their own. It was a long time ago that they learned to walk and ride bicycles. But I am still an amazed father. I am proud of them. I regret not telling them more when they were younger how amazed I was with them. I tended to offer more correction and criticism than encouragement. Maybe it is not too late. Hey kids, this is your dad….
Principle Based Evaluation: Successful family life involves honesty, repentance and forgiveness. I think it also involves more amazement.
For more information on the author, Gary Cake, go to: http://www.mtwm.org/