As I thought about how to kick off my series on all things romance and relationships, I considered many of the well-worn topics, such as how to meet people of the opposite sex or identify a potential spouse. I considered talking about how to pursue or prepare yourself to be pursued. But I settled on something a little different … something the Lord has been working on in my heart.
Today I want to talk about love between a father and a child.
Several years ago, I was on vacation with my family in Oregon when I offered to show my 2-year-old nephew, Ben, some pictures on my computer. Since I lived in another state, I thought the photos might jog his memory as to who I was. I settled him on my lap and began playing a slideshow of our family Christmas that had taken place eight months earlier.
As Ben watched the pictures scroll across the screen, each time a photo of my brother, Matt, would appear, Ben would point and say, “Dada.” At first he looked at me each time, as if to say, “Do you know that’s my daddy?” But as the show progressed, he became more enthralled with the images, his tone more intense. Soon he was practically yelling “Dada” at the screen each time he saw his dad.
The moment the slideshow ended, Ben turned to me with an urgent look in his eyes. “Dada!” he said, squirming out of my lap and scanning the area for his father. Ben found my brother in the kitchen. “Hey, Buddy,” Matt said, lifting his son into his arms. Ben looped his arms around my brother’s neck, looked tenderly into his face and breathed a contented sigh.
That experience stuck with me as a picture of my relationship with my heavenly Father. As Ben watched images of his father — and was reminded of the nature of their relationship — he was filled with love to the point where he just had to be with his daddy!
When I was single, the dependence of my relationship with my Savior was extra-sweet. These lyrics from the song “In Christ Alone” capture what I felt:
In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.
While I am still utterly dependent on my heavenly Father, my singleness was a special season. As I grappled with not having a partner who desired me, I flew more frequently to those comforting arms. I saw more clearly the ways in which God was lovingly caring for me. In the absence of human affection, I felt His love more deeply.
I believe God has a special place in His heart for the lonely, whether that is the single, the outsider or the disenfranchised. And the love He offers is the kind that satisfies and gives life. Regarding this whole issue of romance, a starting point is resting securely in the love of a Father. It is the greatest love you or I will ever experience.