Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Call the Dog by Name

Have you ever watched a dog for someone?  We recently did for three weeks. Overall, the dog, Charlie, was a good-natured dog. His weakness was that whenever we left the house, he sprayed pee on various objects and would poop multiple times to show his distress. We did not enjoy returning home to see what he left us. He was becoming a nuisance.

One night, however, I was taking my baby daughter to bed. She speaks four words so far: mama, dada, hi, and doggie.  But as I walked her across the dim upstairs landing to the bedroom, she heard him moving at the foot of the stairs.

"Do you hear that?" I said. "That's the doggie. Where is the doggie?"

Suddenly she called to him.


She was staring down into the dark stairwell, and she beckoned with her hand for him to come.

I was in shock.  When I told my wife the next day that our daughter's fifth word was Charlie, she was strangely moved.

"It almost makes me want to keep him around," she said. "I can forgive him a lot of things if she likes him."

I know, personally, that I spray a lot of objects in God's house and leave poop here and there for him to clean up.

But his beloved son, Jesus, takes my name on his lips. He says my name. Not only does he call my name in the darkness, he has carved my name on his hands forever. That has to count for something.

"He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out."

"But now, this is what the LORD says-- he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine."

"See, I have engraved you on the palm of my hands."  Isaiah 49:16

Friday, April 14, 2017

Crawling to Father

The other night I was at a church function for Valentine's Day. I was standing up on the stage with some others, competing in a silly Family Feud-style game.

There was a rustle in the audience. I looked out and saw, crawling away from the banquet tables, my baby daughter. She was crawling towards me, a determined expression on her face. She would put her head down and crawl across the carpet, then stop and raise her head to see where I was and adjust course.  When she finally reached the stage, she started climbing painstakingly, determinedly up the stairs to where I stood at the top.

Before she could get all the way up, I stepped down and swooped her into my arms. Snug there against me in front of everyone, she looked perfectly contented, as though this was the most natural thing in the world. I held her for the remainder of the on-stage activity.

I had felt such warmth and affection as I watched her crawling away from everyone else and towards me. She had single-minded focus and would not be content until she was in my arms. I felt proud of her. She had acknowledged me before others, and I was certainly proud to acknowledge her as mine to the entire assembled audience.

"I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God's angels. But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God's angels."

Luke 12:8-9