Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Lessons from the Grandkids (Dr. Jim White)

Jim White and I grew up together in York, Nebraska for several years as boys. His folks were associated with York College during that time frame. There are several other connections including his brother, Charles, coaching my brother, Dave, and his York High School teammates to the Nebraska State Class B Tennis Championship in Dave's senior year. Jim has worked at York College as well as Harding University during his professional career. Jim is now the minister for the Southwest Church of Christ in Omaha, Nebraska and we are semi-related by marriage! Here are his wonderful thoughts. (Aside: Jim was the best WHIFFLE BALL  player ever!) Keep me in your prayers as I am on my way to Can Tho, Vietnam! 

     I recommend grandkids.  Presently, I’m the “Papa” of three of them.  I love them with all my heart.  They are loud, selfish, grumpy (at times), petulant, and sometimes mean to each other.  But what do you expect from a seven-year-old, a four-year-old, and an eight-month-old?  My grandkids live in the same town as my wife and I, so I’m very fortunate to see them often.
     Recently, my wife and I had to make a trip to Arkansas (we live in Nebraska) to check on my mother-in-law.  It was a quick four-day trip.  On our return, the grandkids walked into church services to see us for the first time in a few days.  Oh, what a reception we received.  “Papa!!  Granna!!”  Spoken at about 150 decibels.  My grandson came up to me with a heart colored in red and yellow.  Then he gave me a sheet of paper where he had written this in blue crayon.  Understand that he had just finished kindergarten so this reading and writing thing was still new to him.  Here’s what he said in the note:
                                                                                Der Papa
                                                                                                I mist you win you wr gon.
                                                                                Love Landry

     Now, let me back up for just a minute to tell you that my father was a college English professor.  I have two advanced degrees beyond my bachelor’s degree.  I have taught at two of our Christian schools.  Even though my degrees are not in English, I’m still pretty much of a grammar Nazi.  When I read my grandson’s note, I did not think of correcting his spelling.  His lack of punctuation did not cross my mind.  Instead, my heart melted because he “mist” his Papa. 
     I couldn’t help thinking of our Abba Father as He looks at us.  Does He look for us to be completely correct in our prayers?  Is He looking for perfection in our lives?  Does He push us away because we just can’t get it all together?  I think His heart melts when in our own feeble way, we reach out to Him, imperfect as we are.
     For years I have looked to find passages of Scripture that just say, “God loves me.”  Instead, I read of His unfailing love, how God so loved the world, that He pours out His love, about how wide and long and high and deep is His love, and I always seem to find His love being described in the superlative.
     So why do I get all scared when I think of God?  Why am I worried that He doesn’t like me?  Why do I think He might spurn my anemic efforts to tell Him I love Him?  Perhaps I need to revert to the most profound hymn I’ve ever known.  It was taught to me before I could even speak.  It’s a song I sing to my grandkids.  It goes like this:
Jesus loves me this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak, but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
The Bible tells me so. 

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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