I recently came across this photo and it reminded me of a time when my eldest son was almost 2 years old. At the time my wife, son and I were living in my in-laws basement (another story for another day). In late October Micah (my son) and I were taking the trash down to the end of the driveway. As I lugged the trashcan Micah played the role every one year old boy loves to play and went running ahead as fast as he could. I calmly reminded him that is was dark and hard to see the cracks and potential pitfalls. His response was pure innocence: he stopped. He stopped so fast I thought he ran into an unknown wall. With 3-4 quick steps I caught up to him and quietly stood by his side. Looking down I saw his giant deep blue eyes in a trance. Tracking the path of sight line I found myself staring into one of the largest harvest moons I had ever seen.
My in-laws live in a suburban cul-de-sac about 20 miles east of Cleveland, Ohio. A development built about 30 years ago their home is surrounded by mature maples and gorgeous oaks. The fall season in Northeast Ohio drips with colors as these trees begin stopping their photosynthesis process and sugars trapped in the leaves embrace sunlight and cool nights. Tree tops take on the flavor of a box of Trix Cereal. Green grass drowns in a sea of melted crayons. As I looked through this palette of textures, like a crowning jewel, the burnt orange harvest moon hung in the evening sky. It truly looked large enough to climb onto.
Micah, his eyes wide, full of the wonder of an unknown spectacle, broke his gaze and looked to me. "DADDY!!! THE MOON!!!" And then magic. "I'm gonna get it!" And he took off, sprinting as fast as his tiny skinny white legs could take him. He rounded the edge of the driveway, tiny sneakers slapping concrete, and took to the sidewalk. In that moment my heart burst. I wanted him, more than anything else in the world, to reach the moon. I wanted him to climb it, dance on its dry, dusty, pockmarked skin. I wanted him to lasso the moon.
"So don't be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom." Luke 12:32
I have had many conversation with folks that tend to follow this track: "Sure God is perfect. He is God! But no, I don't think He actually cares about me. I look in the world and there is no way I can think that. I simply do not think God is good. Yes He is perfect but no He is not good."
As a human I am deeply flawed. As a human father I am far from perfect. But if I, a human, flawed father want good things for my children then how much more does a Perfect Father? In that moment with Micah I wanted him to experience walking on the moon. I wanted him to experience the Kingdom. And it brought tears of joy and happiness to my heart. Jesus calls God our Father. He invites us to call Him Daddy (Matthew 6:9). And Jesus says that this perfect God is also a good Father.
We all tend to look at God and the notion of Him as a good Father through the lens of our own experiences. And because we are flawed humans surrounded by flawed humans our own experiences of 'father' are not always encouraging. Jesus however, invites into a new experience: a Perfect God who wants to be our Good Father.
I am not perfect but I want good things for my children. I anticipated loving my children when I dreamt of being a father. I never anticipated gaining a deeper understanding of a Perfect God who wants to be my Good Dad. Every time one of my three children call me daddy and run into my arms I think of my Good Dad in heaven. And every time I dream of lassoing a harvest moon I hear my Good Dad behind me, whispering through tears, "I want you to dance on its dry, dusty, pockmarked skin. I want you to lasso the moon."