My dear friend Chrissy posted the most stunning photograph on Facebook the other day.
It’s a picture of her husband Robbie tossing their 19 month old son Luke into the air. The photographer captured the image at this impossibly perfect, to-the-milisecond, blink-and-you’d-miss-it moment. Luke is at the height of the toss, his little body straight as an arrow, arms outstretched, a look of pure joy and delight on his sweet face, grinning from ear to ear.He is flying and he is loving it.
I saw that picture, bleary-eyed and half-awake before my morning coffee, and I felt myself get hit square in the chest with the power of it all. It literally took my breath away. That photo had one word written all over it, as clear as if it was captioned. That word was Trust.
God has been giving me PhD level courses in Trust lately. On some days, in some rare and beautiful moments, trusting God feels so simple, as natural and as effortless as breathing. Most of the time, though, it’s a struggle. I have to fight to remember that my hope is not found in my own abilities or circumstances, in striving and doing everything “right.” I have to fight to remember that I am not the Author of my own story, and to stop trying to wrestle the pen out of God’s hand (Spoiler Alert: I always lose. God has much stronger forearms than I do).
I looked at that picture and I started to think about why Luke can fly so effortlessly and so freely, with such joyful abandon, without a single ounce of fear that he will fall. I think it comes down to the fact that he believes two things about his dad, about that guy who tossed him in the air in the first place and is waiting on the ground below: that he is able to catch him and that he wants to.
One belief without the other is useless – if Robbie wanted to catch Luke but he lacked the strength or hand-eye coordination or whatever, the scene 2 seconds after that picture was taken would be Luke on the ground, crying, hurt and scared. In the same way, if Robbie was capable of catching Luke but he didn’t want to – if he got distracted or disinterested or decided something else was more important to him in that moment than his kid, Luke would be in serious trouble.
Thank God (pun intended) that’s not the case. Robbie is more than able to catch Luke (he’s got about 5 feet and 150 pounds on him – for now at least) and to say he wants to catch him is the understatement of the year. Robbie would fend off a horde of flesh-eating zombies while juggling chainsaws and singing “It’s a small world after all” on an eternal loop if it meant protecting Luke from harm. Luke knows that – he believes that – because every.single.day of his 19 months on this earth he has experienced that this is his dad’s heart toward him. He trusts that his dad will always love and protect him, that he is for him.
In the moments when trusting God is a struggle, when I feel myself flailing in the air, overcome by fear and anxiety about the future and the unknown of it all, when I start to worry about what will happen if and when I start to fall, I ask myself two questions: is God capable of catching me and does He want to?
Tucked away in Jeremiah 32, in the midst of a prayer magnifying God’s great power and glory, is a phrase that says, simply, “Nothing is too hard for You.” The first time I read it I laughed out loud, and every time I stumble across it in my Bible I smile ruefully and shake my head at my own thick-headedness.
Nothing is too hard for God.
He set the stars in the sky. He created the wind and the rain, thunder and lightning, the sun and the moon and every single shining star in the Heavens. He created a newborn baby’s tiny, perfectly pink feet, the infectious laughter of children and every delicate petal of a cherry blossom tree in full bloom. He made the lame man walk and the blind man see. He raised Jesus from the dead. So…I think He can handle finding me a job, making sure I get married before I’m 82, and taking care of the people I love. Nothing is too hard for Him.
As far as believing that God loves me, that’s a whole separate post, but suffice it to say that over the last year I have gone from believing that God loves me enough to get run over by a bicycle (maybe a moped, on a good day) to really, truly understanding that He would gladly get mowed down by a bus, a hundred times over, to protect me. And of course He literally did just that – took on all of my pain and sorrow and sin and shame and sacrificed himself to save me, because He loves me too much to let me fall.
I think when Jesus said we should be like little children, He was really onto something. When I look at Luke’s face in that picture I think, “Wow. Look what happens when you Trust your Father. You get to experience joy and exhilaration and peace and contentment all at the same time. You get to fly.”
I want to be like Luke. I want to trust my Father so wholeheartedly, so deeply, and with such abandon that I look straight ahead to what God has for me and move towards it with joy, with arms outstretched, with a heart that says (to borrow a phrase from Luke) “More, please!” I want to fly.
Thanks for the lesson, Lukers. See you up in the air.