by Randy Chambers, 2005-02-01
"Read me a story Daddy."
Seems so long ago since I heard those words from my own children. But those are days that, no matter how hard we embrace them, seem to fade so quickly. Like so many other fathers, I wouldn’t give up any of the times I share with my children, now that they are older. Yet there are still so many things I miss from those earlier times.
For instance, I cannot begin to put into words the feeling that came over me when I was woken at two in the morning by the sound of a hungry baby—and knowing it was my turn to get up. Sure, at first it was something I dreaded. But over time, it became something I would not have exchanged for the world.
Each time seemed very much the same as the last. We would get up, start heating the bottle (thank the Lord for microwaves), put on a fresh diaper, get the warmed bottle, and finally get comfortable and ready to eat, and burp, and eat some more.
That’s when it would happen. That’s about the time I would sit and gaze into that wonderful little face. I could not get over how small she was—so very fragile. Her eyes remained closed most of the time. Her little hands would stretch and move and clasp at the air, or the edge of her blanket.
Her face sometimes wrinkled in peculiar ways, as if she was contemplating some deep and interesting thought.
"What are you thinking about?" I asked her so softly I could barely hear myself. She replied with tiny grunts and moans, undisturbed by my presence while she concentrated so seriously on her dinner.
Every so often, she would open her eyes for a little while, and then—it was all over.
"What’s that honey? What do you want?" I knew. Anything she wanted at that moment was hers. I would deny her nothing … which was why it was a very good thing she hadn’t yet learned how to ask.
Her eyes locked with mine, and flared. It was like she was drinking me in. It seemed she looked at me just the way I was looking at her—studying every feature—every facial curve.
"Wow," we both thought. "Look what God did." We would sit there amazed until the minutes faded and the bottle emptied.
"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen." (Romans 11:33-36 NIV)
It was in times like those with my children that I also pondered the face of God. I desired to look into His eyes—to see every feature—every facial curve. I wanted to know what it is like to look full into His face and be drawn in, as if to drink in all of Him I possibly could.
And what about Him? If I, an earthly father, could be so moved by the catching eyes of an infant, what of Him? How much does He desire to look into the face of each of His children, and watch them—and see their eyes lock onto Him?
We’ve moved well beyond the years wherein I once read bedtime stories to my children. And my teenagers don’t sit close to me and gaze deeply into my eyes (unless it’s a staring contest). I know my daughter loves me, but she seems to be satisfied to spend considerable time away from dad. But that’s ok. I am still drawn to her and to God each time I see her sing to God in church. I may not be the apple of her eye these days, but I am delighted to see her eyes flare and sparkle when she looks up to another Father—a Father we will both hold dearly—and so dearly be held by as well.