The new assistant to the prime minister was nervous; he had never been around such a powerful man. When he got to the massive entrance to the mansion, his trembling finger pushed the doorbell. He waited, heart pounding. Suddenly, the doors swung open, and there in the foyer was the man he feared, down on all fours, giving his two giggling children a bucking bronco ride. The caption read: The children are free and fearless in the house.
I love the iconic photo of John F. Kennedy in the oval office, with his son, John Jr, playing under his desk. The most powerful man in the world, with his child at his feet. Have you ever thought about God in these terms? Do you see your day as a chance to play next to Him? When we do, we can enjoy what children instinctually relish, being under the love and security of a giant familiar figure. Do you sense that same security and love under God’s feet?
I can tell you how I fell in love with my giant familiar figure. He was a mason, built foundations and chimney’s, and I was conscripted to labor for him at an early age. Day after day I would watch my father’s shirtless form welding a trowel, hoisting cement blocks, and shouting for more supplies. Seeing his powerful form built my sense of security. On the way home, I would sit exhausted between he and my uncle, as the pick-up truck bounced along, and without fail my eyes would grow heavy, and my head would come to rest on his massive shoulder. That built my sense of love. Going to work with dad was not a chore, it was a chance to be close to him, to watch him build something. In a similar way, in my walk with God, I work to understand him, work to express my love, work to wait and see how he will lead me. Yes, there’s work in the waiting. But it isn’t work, not really. It’s nearness to that Giant Familiar Figure. That’s how love is built. That’s where freedom comes from.
For each of us, God is writing a unique chapter. He may be asking us to surrender fear. Or, whispering how thin our patience has become. Perhaps the dormant volcano of anger hasn’t spewed yet, but it’s rising to the surface. The very nature of God in crisis is that he’s putting us to the test. It’s the crisis that brings focus, tempers the steel in our character, and brings our steps in cadence with His.
In the meantime, while we face temptation, let’s remind ourselves that freedom is only a moment into the future. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” John Piper coined the phrase ‘future grace,’ a beautiful truth that says, hold on, be still, trust God right now, even though you may feel overwhelmed with wanting to settle, know that He is fighting with you, and for you. The gifts from this season, are the tests that will approve you.
At the end of Louis L’Amour’s book, To the Far Blue Mountains, he recounts a fight to the death between young Indian warriors and two battle tested woodsmen. It ended badly for both. Out of twelve dispatched, only four warriors returned to the lodge. As the chief looked on one of the warriors spoke: “We covered them in blankets, for they were brave.” The old man was silent. “You have done well.” And when they had walked from the lodge the old man took a pinch of tobacco and threw it into the fire. Then sadly said, “Who now is left to test our young men? Who now?”
At some point He will let us see how valuable the test was to give our heart what it wanted all along.
To be free and fearless.
To be back in each other’s arms again.